TMC to skip talks with Cong’ alliance panel; Bengal seat-sharing position conveyed

New Delhi: The Trinamool Congress will not send its representatives for any meeting with the Congress’ national alliance committee on seat-sharing for the Lok Sabha elections as it has already conveyed its position to the grand old party, TMC sources said on Thursday.

The Congress panel has been holding seat-sharing talks with Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) partners from different states.

TMC sources said the Congress contacted party leaders for such a meeting and has been conveyed that they are not keen on sending any representative for talks. They said the Trinamool Congress has offered two seats to the Congress — the ones it won in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

West Bengal has 42 parliamentary constituencies.

The Congress has said the offer is too low and difficult to accept. Any change in the offer can only be made by Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, they said.

The TMC is also looking at fighting from one seat in Meghalaya and at least two in Assam, party sources said. They added that while the local unit of TMC had an aspiration to fight from one seat in Goa, where it got around five per cent vote share in the 2021 assembly polls, it will not press for it and support the Congress in the coastal state.

In the context of West Bengal, a senior party leader said the TMC’s offer is based on the Congress’ vote share in the previous assembly and Lok Sabha polls.

In at least 39 out of 42 seats in West Bengal, the Congress had less than five per cent vote share in the past.

In West Bengal, the Congress got a vote share of 2.93 per cent in the 2021 assembly polls, 12.25 per cent in the 2016 assembly polls, and 5.67 per cent in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. “The Congress leadership should acknowledge the ground reality in Bengal. They are weak,” the leader said.

“We are ready to lead the fight in West Bengal, we are committed to the INDIA bloc and to defeating the BJP. Our position is clearly spelt out with data, so there is no need for one to go to Delhi and have another discussion,” the TMC leader said.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the TMC won 22 seats in West Bengal, the Congress won two, and the BJP secured 18 seats.