Cong-TC seat sharing talks inconclusive, Pranab returns

Cong-TC seat sharing talks inconclusive, Pranab returns

The stalemate regarding seat sharing between Congress and Trinamool Congress for the next month's crucial Assembly election in West Bengal continued, even as both the parties kept their doors open for further talks.

Senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee, who held parleys with TC supremo Mamata Banerjee here last night, said that talks were on, before returning to Delhi today.

"I have nothing more to add to what I had said last night. Talks (with TC) are on. Talks are not yet over," Mukherjee told reporters. It was not yet clear when discussions would resume between the two parties to clinch the seat-sharing deal.

Emerging from over one-hour talks with Mamata Banerjee at his south Kolkata residence, Mukherjee had said last night that discussions would be held again. "We have discussed seat-sharing. The discussion is inconclusive. We will discuss it again," he had said.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, when asked for her comments as she was leaving without facing the media, quipped, "nothing happened." Apart from Mukherjee and TC chief, AICC leader in-charge of the state Shakeel Ahmed and the party's screening committee in-charge for WB Janardhana Poojary and TC general secretary Mukul Roy were also present at the talks.

Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, a close associate of Mukherjee, had, however, said that alliance would definitely take shape and it was only a matter of time.

"It requires time to reach finality and there is no problem in the path of alliance," he had said.

A state Congress leader, who preferred anonymity, claimed Trinamool Congress had increased the offer up to 68 seats from previous 64, while Congress climbed down to 70 seats from the earlier 98.

TC sources said that differences still persisted on some winnable seats like newly-created Kolkata port and Metiaburuz after the abolition of Kavitirtha and Gardenreach constituencies due to delimitation.

Congress had won both these seats in the 2006 elections. The ruling Left Front had already announced its list of candidates on Sunday for the Assembly poll.

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