Unhappy with Trinamool, Congress mulls options in Bengal

March 19th, 2011 - 11:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) Keeping its options open in the wake of Trinamool Congress unilaterally finalising 228 party candidates for the West Bengal assembly polls, the Congress said Saturday that it will take a decision on alliance in the next two-three days.

Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmed, who is in charge of the party’s affairs in West Bengal, said the party will deliberate every aspect before taking its final decision.

“This is a new development. The list was declared unilaterally. Talks were inconclusive. Congress will consider every aspect and a decision will be taken by Tuesday,” Ahmed told IANS.

He said the party will decide whether to accept the 64 seats the Trinamool Congress has given it, field more candidates or to go it alone in alliance with smaller parties.

Congress sources said its leaders in West Bengal were hurt over the Trinamool announcing its candidates unilaterally and told the central leadership to consider the possibility of the party fighting the polls by itself.

They said besides the party getting about 10 seats less from the Trinamool, there was also the question about the choice of seats.

The sources said several state leaders were of the opinion that the party may get more seats if it decides to go it alone.

The sources said that though the overarching goal was defeat of the ruling Left Front in the state, the Congress would not like to sacrifice its own space in the state.

They said that a final decision would be taken after Holi and the return of party president Sonia Gandhi from London.

Trinamool Congress chief and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday announced a list of 228 candidates, leaving only 64 seats for the Congress to contest in the polls to the 292-member assembly.

Mamata Banerjee also said that her party was also ready with a list of 64 candidates and if the Congress did not agree to its offer by March 21, she would release the names of her party candidates.

The Trinamool and the Congress, along with the Socialist Unity Centre of India-Communist (SUCI-C), had joined hands before the Lok Sabha polls IN 2009 and decimated the Left Front that has been ruling the state since 1977. The alliance bagged 26 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats.

West Bengal will go for a six-phase polls in April-May.

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