Taken by surprise, Congress today said it has sought more time to resolve the differences with its ally Trinamool Congress which has made a unilateral decision to announce a list of candidates for the West Bengal Assembly polls.

“This is a new situation... new development. The party central leadership will discuss the issue in detail and then take a decision,” Congress Working Committee member-in charge for West Bengal Shakeel Ahmad said when asked how the party will respond to its allies move.

Making no effort to hide the party’s displeasure over the Trinamool Congress (TMC) move, Mr. Ahmad said, “Our discussions for seat sharing had remained inconclusive, hence it was told that we will discuss the issue again. We were seeking more time to resolve the differences on the number and nature of seats to be contested by each party. However, now an announcement has already been made (by TMC). We have to see how to respond to the new development,” he said.

Party sources said that West Bengal PCC President Manas Bhuniya will be arriving here to hold talks with senior Congress leaders over the issue.

Party President Sonia Gandhi, who is in London for a week, will arrive on Sunday evening.

The sources said fresh talks would be held between TMC chief and senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee in a day or two to break the impasse as there is a realisation that this is a historic opportunity for both the parties to oust the Left from West Bengal. Ms. Gandhi is learnt to be strongly in favour of the alliance.

Trinamool Congress yesterday unilaterally announced its list of 228 candidates for the election to 294-member West Bengal Assembly and set a Monday deadline for Congress to accept the 64 seats allotted to it.

TC chief Mamata Banerjee had said, “We will be happy if Congress fields its candidates in 64 constituencies after seat adjustment. Else, we will announce our candidates in those seats by Monday.”