Congress, Trinamool seal pact for West Bengal assembly polls (Second Lead)March 21st, 2011 - 10:02 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi/Kolkata, March 21 (IANS) The Congress and the Trinamool Congress Monday announced a seat-sharing pact for the April-May assembly polls aimed at ending the 34-year rule of the Left Front. Under the deal, Trinamool will contest 227 seats while the Congress will field 65 candidates.
Congress and Trinamool announced the seat-sharing accord at two separate press conferences in New Delhi and Kolkata.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who returned from a week-long tour of Britain Sunday, played a key role in breaking the impasse, a party leader told IANS in New Delhi.
Trinamool Congress chief and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee told media persons in Kolkata that getting the Congress in the historic fight against the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front will be beneficial.
“We already have an alliance at the centre. But getting the Congress with us in this historic fight against the misrule of CPI-M is a big thing. We are very happy,” she said.
Congress leader in charge of West Bengal Shakeel Ahmed made the announcement in New Delhi. The Trinamool Congress has given two seats to the Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) and will be contesting 227 seats of the 294 seats.
Earlier last week, seat-sharing talks between the two parties failed and went to the verge of a break up after Banerjee unilaterally announced candidates for 228 assembly seats, indicating that it wanted the Congress to field candidates in the remaining 64 seats.
The breakthrough came after union Finance Minister and senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee spoke to Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata over telephone Monday morning. Before that, Mukherjee had met Congress president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi.
Ahmed Monday denied that the Congress had made a compromise or had surrendered before Trinamool. “When two parties agree for a negotiated settlement, we should honour that,” he said answering queries.
“Congress and Trinamool Congress will work in close cooperation with each other to achieve the common objective of ending misrule of the Left Front led by CPI-M,” Ahmed added.
Congress sources said Gandhi was keen on the alliance and on the seat-sharing accord to be sealed at the earliest.
Congress sources said the party’s assessment was that people of the state wanted a change from the Left Front and there was more to be gained by being part of an alliance with the Trinamool than contesting alone.
Banerjee denied there was a difference or deadlock between the two parties. She also released her party’s manifesto for the upcoming elections.
In the 2009 general elections, the Trinamool and Congress, along with the SUCI, decimated the Left Front that has been ruling since 1977. The alliance had bagged 26 seats of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats.
However, the two parties failed to clinch a seat-sharing deal during civic polls last year.
West Bengal Congress president Manas Bhunia, who was present along with Ahmed, said the people of the state were feeling “tortured” by the Left Front rule.
Voting for the West Bengal assembly will be held in six phases from April 18 to May 10. The results will be declared May 13.
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- Mamata names 228 candidates, leaves 64 seats for Congress - Mar 18, 2011
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- Trinamool names 228 candidates, leaves 64 seats for Congress (Lead) - Mar 18, 2011
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- Congresss-Trinamool attempt to resolve seat-sharing imbroglio - Mar 13, 2011
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- Congress says it allied with Trinamool for good reasons - Apr 21, 2011
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Tags: assembly polls, assembly seats, communist party of india, communist party of india marxist, congress leader, congress president sonia gandhi, field candidates, mamata banerjee, media persons, pranab mukherjee, press conferences, railway minister, shakeel ahmed, socialist unity, suci, tour of britain, trinamool congress chief, union finance minister, unity centre, west bengal