Bypoll win clears way for Cong-Mamata tie-up

The Congress and the Trinamool Congress late on Sunday announced that they would fight the Lok Sabha elections jointly...

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: March 2, 2009 12:29 am

The Congress and the Trinamool Congress late on Sunday announced that they would fight the Lok Sabha elections jointly,putting to rest days of uncertainty and talk of growing gap between the two parties.

The decision was announced after External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee,who heads the state unit of the Congress,met Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee at a guest house.

“We will jointly fight the coming Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal against the ruling Left Front,” Mukherjee told reporters with Banerjee sitting beside him.

A formal announcement on the seat-sharing for the 42 seats in the state are expected after leaders from both sides discuss the issue.

The announcement came just hours after the result for the Bishnupur (West) assembly by-poll was declared. The Trinamool’s Madan Mitra,helped by the Congress which withdrew its candidate,won the seat,defeating CPI(M)’s Iskander Hossain with a margin of over 30,000.

Soon after the victory,Banerjee said: “People have voted against the misrule of the CPI(M). For seat-sharing,we are open to talks to all parties who are willing to come together to defeat the CPI(M).”

The Congress emphasized its role in the win. “We are happy that the TMC candidate has won. But we too have contribution in the victory,” Pranab Mukherjee said at the party office. He said discussions regarding the proposed alliance were on. That was before his meeting with Mamata.

Keshab Rao,AICC member and in-charge of Bengal,who held a meeting with party leaders including Mukherjee to discuss the possible alliance,said: “It is not a question of the number of seats we contest. But there are other factors too.”

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