Cong eyes tie-up with TMC

Cong eyes tie-up with TMC

Seat sharing talks would continue on Sunday

The question, however, is, can it exhibit the same toughness in the eastern state that it displayed with the DMK.

Preliminary talks between the two parties began on Monday night in which firebrand TC leader and railway minister Mamata Banerjee and Congress veteran Pranab Mukherjee and Ahmed Patel, political secretary to party chief Sonia Gandhi participated. While the West Bengal Pradesh Congress committee has put forth a demand for one third of the Assembly seats – 98 out of 294 – TC has made it clear that it would leave out a maximum of 55 seats for Congress.

Banerjee is learnt to have been adamant that Congress should not pitch its demand for more than 55 seats. Congress is hoping to wrest about 65 seats from the TC leader. A delegation of the WB Congress Committee is in Delhi to press for 98 seats for the party.

Once the seat sharing deal is done, the issue of identifying constituencies - which of the seats the two parties should contest - would be taken up. While TC won 19 Lok Sabha seats and its ally SUCI one seat in the 2009 elections, Congress won six under a seat sharing arrangement in which TC contested 28 seats and Congress, 14. However, the two parties contested separately in the 2010 municipal elections.The seat sharing talks would continue on Sunday where a deal is likely to be wrested.

It is also not clear whether Congress would demand that it should share power with TC if the combine comes to power in WB.