Cong risks trouble in its ranks

Assembly polls 2011: Trinamool to contest 229 seats

Cong risks trouble in its ranks

The TMC will contest 229 of the total 294 seats in the State Assembly leaving 65 to the Congress. Bowing to Mamata’s pressure, the Congress could extract only one more seat - Canning East in the State’s South 24 Pargana district- despite interventions by its president Sonia Gandhi and the party veteran and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday.

The clinching of the alliance with the TMC supremo and Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was blowing hot and cold since last Friday after unilaterally announcing a list of 228 seats, will now pave the way for a combined fight against the might of the CPI(M)-led Left Front in the elections.

 A jubilant Mamata who could not hide her glee in the wake of Gandhi putting her stamp of approval on the `Mahajot’ on her terms, told a crowded news conference here at her Kalighat residence : “I am happy that the Congress agreed to fight the polls with us. It is a big thing. We will put an end to Left rule and restore democracy,”
Shakeel Ahmed,  in-charge of the Congress’ affairs in West Bengal, while speaking to mediapersons here said; “The Congress and the Trinamool Congress will work in close cooperation with each other to achieve the common objective of ending the misrule of the CPI (M)-led Left Front in West Bengal.”

The Congress MP and the chief of the party unit in Murshidabad, Adhir Chowdhury, had threatened to field candidates against the TMC’s  bets in four constituencies in the district.

Chowdhury had said that he would not flinch even if the Congress expelled him.
However, despite interventions by its president Sonia Gandhi and the party veteran and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, all that the Congress could wrest from Banerjee was just one more seat – Canning East in the State’s South 24 Parganas district.

Though Manas Bhuyan, the president of the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee, joined Ahmed at the news-conference in New Delhi, he made little effort to hide his displeasure.

“I had conveyed the views of the party’s State unit to our central leaders in Delhi. Now since a decision has already been taken by the top leadership of the two parties, I will carry our leaders’ message to the party’s rank and file in West Bengal – that we all would have to work together to end the 34-year-long rule of the Left Front,” he said.

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