BeyondHeadlines Special Correspondent
Kolkata, West Bengal: Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee has now set today evening deadline for the Congress to reach a seat sharing agreement for the forthcoming West Bengal State Assembly polls.
Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee met Mamata late on Tuesday to resolve last-minute differences.
“We have discussed the seat sharing issue and we will meet again, “Mukherjee said after the 70- minute-long meeting at his South Kolkata residence.
Congress Working Committee member and in-charge of West Bengal Shakeel Ahmed and the party’s screening committee in-charge for the state, Janardhana Poojary, and Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy, were also present at the talks.
Mukherjee returned to Delhi on Wednesday morning and was expected to discuss the matter with Congress President Sonia Gandhi over phone since she is in London. But late in the evening, Ahmed Patel, Gandhi’s political secretary, called Mamata and asked her to wait till March 21, when the Congress president returns from London.
The Trinamool chief, however, has turned down the request.
The differences between the Congress and the TMC appeared to have diminished following reports on Monday that both parties had softened their respective stances over the sharing the 294-member West Bengal State Assembly.
While the Congress had backed down to demand 75 seats from an earlier demand for 100 seats, the Trinamool had agreed to up its offer from 45 to 60 seats, media reports said.
The state will have elections in six phases. The first phase of voting will take place on April 18, second phase on April 23, third phase on April 27, fourth phase on May 3, fifth phase on May 7 and sixth phase on May 10.
The total number of assembly constituencies in West Bengal is 294, of which 68 are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and 16 for the Scheduled Tribes.
The Election Commission has said that polling will take place at 51,919 polling stations.