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Alliance huddle

Calcutta, Feb. 13: AICC general secretary Mohsina Kidwai will be here tomorrow to assess state party leaders’ perception of the possible Congress-Trinamul Congress alliance.

“We will have to set our house in order before going for a dialogue with Mamata (Banerjee),” Kidwai said.

Most of the 393 block Congress presidents had opposed the alliance at a meeting with Sonia Gandhi last week.

Kidwai said the high command’s decision to withdraw the Congress candidate for the Bishnupur West Assembly bypoll had “paved the way for an alliance with Mamata”, but the dissenters had to be convinced that it was necessary to avert a split in Opposition votes. “They will have to be reassured that the alliance would be worked out without tarnishing the Congress’s image.”

State Congress sources said many leaders feared Mamata would only offer “insignificant” seats to the Congress.

PCC functionaries will go into a huddle at the state party headquarters from 3pm tomorrow in the presence of Kidwai and Pranab Mukherjee, the state party chief.

A state leader said the Congress was likely to ask Mamata to spare eight Lok Sabha seats in south Bengal, including one in Calcutta.

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