Even as the Left Front announced its list of candidates for the Assembly polls in West Bengal on Sunday, talks continued between the Trinamool Congress and the Congress in a desperate bid to arrive at consensus on the contentious issue of seat-sharing without further delay.
Trinamool general secretary Mukul Roy and senior leader Sultan Ahmed — both of whom are also Union Ministers of State — held talks with AICC leader in charge of West Bengal affairs Shakeel Ahmed and senior Congress leader B. Janardhana Poojary in New Delhi to break the gridlock. They also met Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee later in the day.
With the elections drawing near — the first-phase to be held on April 18 — the leaders of both parties reportedly underlined the need to remove differences over seat sharing at the earliest.
The discussions were held in preparation for talks between Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee and Mr. Mukherjee when a final picture is expected to emerge.
There was consensus at the talks that the elections would be “very tough” and “time had come to wipe out the CPI(M) rule of nearly 35 years,” Mr. Roy said, adding he and his colleague had pointed out that “it would not be right if matters [seat adjustment] are delayed.” The two factors the alliance partners are preoccupied with are the total number of seats which each of the parties will contest and how many of them could be considered “winnable.”
Even as parleys continued, the Trinamool has reportedly drawn up a tentative list of its candidates, which includes senior retired officials from both civil and police administration and those from the world of cinema and theatre. Among the notables being considered for ticket is the former Chief Secretary, Manish Gupta, who served in the administration under Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.