Congress demands 98 seats in West Bengal assembly polls

Kolkata, Feb 22 (PTI) Congress today demanded 98 seatsfrom its coalition partner Trinamool Congress to contest inthe upcoming West Bengal Assembly elections.

"Congress must have 98 seats to contest, leaving 196seats for Trinamool Congress," state Congress chief ManasBhuniya told a meeting here.

The equation is under a two-third, one-third formulawhich was formulated during the 2000 Lok Sabha polls, he said.

Bhuniya, is among a section of state leaders,including party MP Deepa Dasmunshi, who are known for adoptinga hardline stance on the issue of alliance with TrinamoolCongress.

Bhuniya comments came days after Trinamool supremoMamata Banerjee called for strengthening alliance withCongress.

"I welcome Banerjee''s call. To make the alliancecredible to the people, it must be based on joint movement,"he said, while addressing a meeting with two smaller parties-- People''s Democratic Conference of India and Party ForDemocratic Socialism -- with which state Congress had recentlyforged alliance.

The state Congress chief comments came when a sectionof party workers in Kolkata welcomed Mamata''s call for analliance with Congress. Former state Congress chief PradipBhattahcerjee said "A section of Congress leaders in the statemay try to put a spanner in the process of alliance withTrinamool Congress.".

Bhuniya made it clear that Banerjee will lead theCongress and Trinamool Congress alliance. "Who can deny thatshe is the most popular leader of the state. It is she whowill lead the alliance."There was no word from Trinamool Congress with regardto Bhuniya''s demand for 98 seats in the upcoming polls. MOREPTI PKC AMD

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