Kolkata, Mar 9: Just after the UPA did a juggling act to calm down the warring DMK party and had its way in the seat sharing issue, the UPA still seem to be reeling under the woes posed by state parties. This time around, it is the seat sharing deal with Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress that has come under the pressure-tip.
While the Congress wants the lion share and wants nothing less than 70 seats, Mamata is flexing her muscles and wants to give away only 58 seats. The meeting ended in a deadlock-like situation when the AICC in-charge of West Bengal Shakeel Ahmed met district presidents of the West Bengal Congress. The representatives appeared adamant and expressed in strong words that they would fight elections alone if the Trinamool does not agree to its demands. The state Congress leaders meanwhile want the party to contest at least 98 of the 294 Assembly seats.
The issue was communicated to the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee during the course of a meeting with him. Shakeel Ahmed was sent to meet state leaders to work out a strategy to deal with the upcoming Assembly Polls. Congress MP Deepa Dasmunshi said, “If you go by the results of the last Panchayat elections, we deserve 120 seats. But we are staking claim to only 98. More than the quantity of seats, it is their quality that matters to us."
The Congress wants to be part of the ruling alliance and will be possible only if they have enough seats in their kitty. There are also rumours doing the rounds that Trinamool Congress has not yet made an offer for seats yet. The Trinamool has named Mukul Roy and Sudip Bandopadhyay to negotiate with the Congress. The fact remains that Roy is of the thought that Trinamool should fight it solo and not yield to Congress' pressure tactics.
Whether the Congress will succeed in round 2 of arm-twisting politics is uncertain.