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Cong call for 51 to Trinamul

Calcutta, April 21: Congress leader Pradip Bhattacharya called up Trinamul’s Partha Chatterjee tonight to iterate his party’s demand for 51 of the 141 seats in the Calcutta Municipal Corporation polls.

The call followed several rounds of discussions in Delhi between state Congress president Pranab Mukherjee and party leaders from Bengal over the past few days.

“I once again placed our demand for 51 seats in Calcutta. We shall formally discuss the matter with him in a day or two,” said Bhattacharya, a state party working president.

Trinamul’s Chatterjee confirmed the phone call and that a meeting would held soon to finalise the seat-sharing deal for Calcutta. Trinamul sources said Mamata Banerjee had asked Chatterjee to carry on the dialogue with the ally as she was busy in Delhi.

The stalemate over Calcutta is apparently affecting alliance talks for the May municipal polls in several districts.

In Murshidabad, Trinamul president Subrata Saha today referred to Calcutta while justifying the party’s demand for more seats in the six municipalities in the district. “The Congress wants 51 seats from us in Calcutta. But if it doesn’t offer what we want in Murshidabad, why should we concede in Calcutta?”

Hooghly Congress chief Abdul Mannan slammed Trinamul for its “narrow politics”. “In areas where Trinamul wields a greater clout, it is offering us a paltry share. Then it is asking for more in areas where we are better placed.”

Of the 12 municipalities going to the polls in Hooghly, Trinamul controls one while the Congress helms two.

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