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Cong, TMC strike deal on seat sharing

Cong, TMC strike deal on seat sharing
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First Published: Mon, Mar 21 2011. 05 54 PM IST
Updated: Mon, Mar 21 2011. 05 54 PM IST
New Delhi: Congress and Trinamool Congress, the main opposition party in West Bengal finalised the seat sharing discussion on Monday. The alliance will fight against the Communist Party of India-Marxist or CPM-led Left Front, which has been ruling the state for almost 35 years in the six-phased election in April-May.
The Congress party and its top ally on Monday agreed to jointly contest a crucial state election, party officials said, ending a stand-off that threatened to strain the embattled coalition.
But in a sign of Congress’ weaker position, the party had to concede to Trinamool Congress’ demands over the number of candidates each party would field in elections in West Bengal state where Communists have ruled for over three decades.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government needs the support of Trinamool’s 19 lawmakers to maintain its slim majority in the 545-strong lower House of Parliament and the differences had sparked off some concerns over the stability of the government.
Congress is banking on a good showing in this and four other state polls to ease the pressure on it following a series of corruption scandals and high food prices.
“We are confident this alliance will give a chance to the people of West Bengal to end the misrule of the (Communist) government,” senior Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed said.
Congress would fight in 65 of the state’s 294 constituencies, he said, below its initial demand for as many as 98 seats and one place more than what Trinamul had offered last week.
The alliance, led by Trinamool chief and railway minister Mamata Banerjee, is widely expected to win the elections spread across April and May.
Results are due 13 May.
The latest episode recalled a similar deadlock earlier this month with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) over polls in Tamil Nadu, but unlike DMK, Trinamool did not threaten to pull out from the government.
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First Published: Mon, Mar 21 2011. 05 54 PM IST