Mamata puts Cong on 48-hr notice

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

Written by Ravik Bhattacharya | Kolkata | Published: March 11, 2009 12:02 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 Congress leaders like Pranab Mukherjee and K Keshava Rao on the seat-sharing issue. Last night too,I had a talk with Rao over the telephone and he asked me to wait. I cannot wait for an indefinite period 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 CPI(M) has already started campaigning for their candidates. It 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 the remaining 14 were 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.

She said she had given the Bankura Lok Sabha seat to the Congress instead of the Bishnupur seat demanded by the party. “We have also given Jalpaiguri Lok Sabha seat and two seats in Malda to the Congress even though the Congress heavyweight in Malda has joined us. We have also given the Purulia and Jhargram Lok Sabha seats to the Congress. Both seats are winnable once there is an alliance,” the Trinamool chief said,rubbishing Congress’ claims that these seats were difficult to win.

A visibly annoyed Banerjee also hinted that the CPI(M) was instrumental in breaking the alliance between the two Opposition parties.

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

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