Congress made unreasonable demands, delayed seat-sharing discussions: TMC sources

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Mamata Banerjee Rahul Gandhi TMC Congress

Mamata Banerjee and Rahul Gandhi (File image)

New Delhi: As West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced her party will go it alone in the Lok Sabha polls in the state, TMC sources on Wednesday claimed the Congress delayed the talks and made unreasonable demands on seat-sharing without acknowledging the ground reality.

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) is open to "courtesy back-channel" talks but there is hardly any hope left for reaching a pact, they said.

Maintaining that TMC had offered two Lok Sabha seats to the Congress in West Bengal, a senior party leader said it is open to discussing a third seat, provided Congress agrees to give the TMC seats in Meghalaya and Assam.

The TMC leader accused the Congress of causing "unreasonable delay" in seat-sharing discussions, saying no communication has happened in the last two weeks.

The leader also alleged that the Congress was making unreasonable demands in terms of the number of seats without acknowledging the ground reality of Bengal.

The TMC had suggested a formula for deciding seat sharing based on the results of previous elections, and the offer the party made to Congress was based on that criteria.

Much damage was also done due to the statements made by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who had recently called the West Bengal chief minister an 'opportunist' and also said that the Congress would fight the polls on its own, the sources said.

While the TMC has not announced exiting the INDIA grouping, the leader added that there is very little chance of seat sharing in the state with the Congress.

The TMC is also skipping the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra of the Congress, even as the Communist Party of India (Marxist) is likely to attend it.

A TMC source claimed that they were not invited by Congress to attend the Yatra.

The INDIA bloc received twin setbacks on Wednesday with chief ministers Mamata Banerjee and Bhagwant Mann ruling out an alliance with the Congress in their respective states of West Bengal and Punjab for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

“I had given them (Congress) a proposal (on seat sharing) but they refused it at the outset. Our party has now decided to go alone in Bengal,” Banerjee said amid the seat-sharing tussle between the Congress and the TMC.

The CM also asserted that she has not spoken to anyone in the Congress on the seat-sharing issue.