Breaking point? Mamata holds out 48-hour ultimatum to Congress

Ten days after she began seat-sharing talks with the Congress,a frustrated Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday served a 48-hour ultimatum on the Congress leadership...

Written by Ravik Bhattacharya | Kolkata | Published: March 11, 2009 4:09 am

Ten days after she began seat-sharing talks with the Congress,a frustrated Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday served a 48-hour ultimatum on the Congress leadership,asking it to clear its stand failing which she would “take her own decision”.

“I have been waiting for 10 days after I had a talk with the Congress leaders like Pranab Mukherjee and K Keshav Rao on the seat-sharing issue. Last night too,I had a talk with Rao over telephone and he asked me to wait. I cannot wait indefinitely for the Congress to decide on the issue. I will wait maximum for a day or two to take my decision,” Banerjee told a crowded press conference at her residence in Kalighat on Tuesday.

“If the Congress is really serious about any seat-sharing or electoral alliance,they should let us know within a day or two. I don’t want to waste more time. The CPM has already started campaigning for their candidates. This is high time we went to the people,” Banerjee said.

State Congress chief Pranab Mukherjee had held a meeting with Banerjee in Kolkata on March 1,when the Trinamool announced that the two parties would jointly fight the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal.

“The seat-sharing formula was finalised during our meeting on March 1. As per the formula,our party was supposed to fight 28 seats while rest 14 was supposed to be contested by the Congress. I have given them five seats in south Bengal as per their demand apart from the six seats they won in 2004,” Banerjee said.

Banerjee also said some Congress leaders in the state are openly speaking against the alliance. “Our workers and leaders are also asking why we are fielding candidates in North Bengal. However,no one is speaking against the alliance in the open. Why are some of them doing so and attacking us openly?” she said.

West Bengal Congress leaders,however,refused to react to Banerjee’s charges against them. “The entire seat-sharing talk is being controlled by our high command we have nothing to say on the issue,” Congress Legislative Party leader Manas Bhunia said.

Meanwhile,Trinamool Candidates like Sudip Bandopadhyay and Shatabdi Roy have already started their poll campaign. Trinamool supporters have painted Sudip’s name on the walls in North Kolkata.

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