Cong's Bengal mantra: 'Honourable' tie-up with Trinamool
Undeterred by the controversy surrounding its seat sharing talks with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam for the Tamil Nadu
assembly elections, the Congress has begun moves for an 'honourable alliance' with the Trinamool Congress in poll-bound West Bengal.
West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee chief Manas Bhuniya, who is in Delhi, on Monday had a long meeting with the newly appointed party in-charge for West Bengal affairs Shakeel Ahmed to discuss the party strategy for the polls.
Ahmed, who was inducted in Congress Working Committee recently, will also be meeting chiefs of all 19 administrative and five organisational districts of West Bengal Congress on Tuesday at the All India Congress Commitee headquarters to assess the ground situation in the state before the party formulates a strategy for the assembly polls.
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Image: Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee speaks with Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee in a rally in Kolkata
'Cong seeks 98 seats, TC ready for only 40 to 45'
Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress has authorised Union minister Mukul Roy and party's chief whip in Lok Sabha Sudip Bandopadhyay to hold seat sharing talks with Congress.
Party chief Mamata Banerjee will also be meeting senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee in this regard.
The exercise comes in the backdrop of controversies between the two parties a fortnight back after Bhuniya set conditions for seat-sharing with its ally Trinamool seeking 98 (one third of total 294) seats.
Trinamool Congress reacted by saying that it won't offer more than 40 to 45 seats. Bhuniya's move has been questioned by sections of his own party leaders in West Bengal.
Image: File picture of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi with Mamata Banerjee at a poll rally in West Bengal
'We have to free the people from Left misrule'
Though refusing to speak on Bhunia's demand, Ahmed said, "We are hopeful of firming up an alliance with dignity in West Bengal. Our goal is the same. We have to free people of the state from Left misrule."
The Congress leader said he will also hold talks with the outgoing party in-charge for West Bengal K Keshava Rao and Union Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who earlier also headed the PCC there to have a clear picture of party's position in the state.
K Keshava Rao, who was earlier the in-charge for West Bengal and a CWC member, was removed from the apex decision making body of the party in the recent party reshuffle.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior leader said seat sharing won't be an issue in West Bengal and both parties will contest the seats where they are strong.
Congress, which had contested the last assembly election in the state alone, had won 19 seats. The party has six Lok Sabha MPs from the state.
Sources in the party said that a detailed assessment of party's previous performance including in the last Lok Sabha election will be made before placing a 'reasonable' demand for seats before Trinamool Congress, which is the leading partner in the state.
Image: West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee speaks at a poll rally in Kolkata