Taken by surprise, the Congress on Saturday said it has sought more time to resolve its differences with ally Trinamool Congress, which had made a unilateral decision to announce a list of candidates for the West Bengal assembly polls.
"This is a new situation, new development. The party central leadership will discuss the issue in detail and then take a decision," said Congress Working Committee member-in charge for West Bengal Shakeel Ahmad.
Making no effort to hide the party's displeasure over the Trinamool Congress's move, Ahmad said, "Our discussions for seat sharing had remained inconclusive, hence it was decided that we will discuss the issue again. We were seeking more time to resolve the differences on the number and nature of seats to be contested by each party."
"However, now an announcement has already been made (by TMC). We have to see how we respond to the new development," he said.
Party sources said that West Bengal PCC President Manas Bhuniya will be arriving in Delhi to hold talks with senior Congress leaders over the issue. The Congress will take a decision only after the festival of Holi on Sunday.
Party president Sonia Gandhi will return from London on Sunday. Fresh talks will be held between the TMC chief and senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee in a day or two to break the impasse, said sources. Gandhi is learnt to be strongly in favour of the alliance.
The Trinamool Congress on Friday unilaterally announced its list of 228 candidates for the election to the 294-member West Bengal assembly and set a deadline for the Congress to accept the 64 seats allotted to it.
TC chief Mamata Banerjee had said, "We will be happy if Congress fields its candidates in 64 constituencies after seat adjustments. Else, we will announce our candidates in those seats by Monday."