Pranab clears talks with Trinamool

While West Bengal Congress chief Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday gave clearance to the state leadership for talks with the Trinamool Congress for an alliance in the Lok Sabha election....

Written by D K Singh | New Delhi | Published: February 12, 2009 12:22:30 am

While West Bengal Congress chief Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday gave clearance to the state leadership for talks with the Trinamool Congress for an alliance in the Lok Sabha election,the seat-sharing arrangement is set to be a tricky affair with the Congress having prepared a list of 16 out of 42 LS seats in the state on which it intends to lay claim,it was reliably learnt.

It was after Mukherjee’s meeting with WBPCC working president Pradip Bhattacharya and senior party leader Manas Bhuyian at the External Affairs Minister’s office on Tuesday that the Congress pulled out its candidate from the Bishnupur (West) Assembly bypoll.

“It is the desire of the people of Bengal that the Congress and the Trinamool Congress contest the election together. Accordingly,we have withdrawn our candidate from the Assembly bypoll. It is up to the Trinamool Congress now to reciprocate,” Pradip Bhattacharya said on phone.

The Congress earlier wanted Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee to declare that her party has left the NDA. “She has said on several occasions that she has no links with the BJP. This is not an issue any more,” said Bhattacharya.

AICC general secretary in- charge of the state Mohsina Kidwai and Pranab will be in Kolkata on February 14 for the party’s coordination committee meeting over seat-sharing.

Asked on Tuesday whether a Congress-TMC alliance was in the offing,Mukherjee had said,“It may be difficult.” But that was before his meeting with Bhattacharya and Bhuyian,who reportedly pushed for an alliance with the TMC to take on the Left.

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