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Rediff.com  » News » Pranab to meet Mamata over seat tussle in Bengal

Pranab to meet Mamata over seat tussle in Bengal

March 14, 2011 10:10 IST

Differences between Congress and Trinamool over seat-sharing for the West Bengal assembly polls appeared to have narrowed down with the two parties holding a series of confabulations involving senior party leaders.

Sources said that Congress has whittled down its wish list from 100 to 75 seats while Trinamool, which was initially offering only 45 seats, is now willing to go up to 60 in the 294-member state assembly.

Senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee is scheduled to meet Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee to finalise a seat sharing deal later today.

Mamata Banerjee's emissaries Mukul Roy and Sultan Ahmed held parleys with Mukherjee and Congress Working Committee's member in charge of affairs in West Bengal Shakeel Ahmed on Sunday in a 'very cordial' atmosphere, the sources said.

The meetings took place a day after the Congress president's political secretary Ahmed Patel had a talk with TMC chief Mamata Banerjee on the seat-sharing issue.

The TMC leaders held a two-hour meeting in the day with Ahmed, Janardhan Poojari (the Congress screening committee chairman in charge of West Bengal) and party's state chief Manas Bhuiyan.

"There is nothing wrong in political parties seeking larger number of seats for themselves. It is so natural in an alliance. Every party wants the best deal for it," Ahmed told reporters.

The TMC may agree to give 60 seats to Congress, which includes 39 of the 49 assembly segments where Congress had a lead in the last assembly elections. Sources in the Congress said that the initial offer of seats by Banerjee's party included only 10 winnable seats.

"Talks took place in a very cordial atmosphere and we are hopeful about reaching an agreement very soon," said a senior leader of the United Progressive Alliance.

After the meeting with TMC counterparts, Congress leaders briefed Mukherjee about the talks. Later, party leaders from West Bengal led by Bhunia also met Mukherjee.

West Bengal assembly elections will be held in six phases starting April 18.

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