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Cong hopes for mutually agreeable solution in WB

News18

Updated: March 11, 2011, 12:23 PM IST
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Cong hopes for mutually agreeable solution in WB
Congress sources said Pranab Mukherjee will meet Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Saturday.

Kolkata: Congress has expressed the hope that a "mutually agreeable solution" will be reached on seat sharing during "formal talks" with Trinamool Congress for the West Bengal polls saying the aim of the combine will be to
dislodge the Left Front. Congress sources said Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will arrive here on Saturday for talks with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.

"Formal discussions between Trinamool Congress and Congress are yet to start. Till now there was informal talks. Our aim is same and that is to defeat the ruling Left Front. We do hope that finally we will be able to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution," Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed, who is the in-charge of party affairs in West Bengal, told PTI. "It is not only the question of number of seats but the quality of seats that we want," he said.

Meanwhile, a PCC leader, who did not want to be named, said that Mukherjee would have talks with Mamata. Trinamool Congress general secretary Mukul Roy said, "I think the meeting between the two leaders would take place on Saturday."

Ahmed said state Congress chief Manas Bhuniya met Congress president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi to discuss on the seats the state unit wants to contest in the assembly polls.

"We need mutual respect, otherwise an alliance cannot be forged properly to fight the battle," Bhuniya said after the meeting. He, however, added that he would abide by whatever the decision the party high command takes in this regard.

Mamata refused to comment anything on the matter, saying, "I am not meeting the press today."

Roy, the union minister of state for shipping, said Banerjee had already talks with Congress high command when she agreed to concede 58-60 of the 294 assembly seats to Congress. Roy said he had talks with Congress leader Ahmed Patel in New Delhi but he did not elaborate.

Elections in West Bengal will take place from April 18 to May 10 in six phases.

Congress sources said state leaders had suggested that the party should seek around 100 seats so that it does not end up becoming an 'also ran' in West Bengal. Several district Congress presidents have told the AICC that if Mamata's party refuses to give one-third seats, then the party should explore the option of going alone.

Party MP Deepa Dasmunsi is in the forefront of the demand to extract a better deal from Mamata.

First Published: March 11, 2011, 12:23 PM IST
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