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Updated: March 3, 2011 03:04 IST

Mamata not to contest coming polls

Special Correspondent
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Mamata Banerjee interacts with media after presenting the Railway Budget in New Delhi on Feb. 25, 2011. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt
THE HINDU
Mamata Banerjee interacts with media after presenting the Railway Budget in New Delhi on Feb. 25, 2011. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

But will lead government if Trinamool is voted to power

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee will not contest the Assembly elections but will provide leadership to the government if her party comes to power.

“I will not contest now, but will give leadership to the government if we come to power,” she said here on Wednesday.

“The Constitution has provisions for one to be elected within six months of a government being set up. If, with the people's blessings and wishes, a ‘ma, mati, manush' [her party slogan that when translated reads: mother, earth, people] government comes to power, I will contest in an election within then [six months],” she told journalists.

“Instead of contesting from one place, it is more important to me to work in the 294 seats that are mine and all of us….If one is in the contest it means having less time for oneself at other places,” she said, indicating that she would be spearheading her party's campaign across the State in the run-up to the polls.

Ms. Banerjee, who was on her way to New Delhi, said she would return to the city and stay on in the State after March 8 or 9 for the elections.

“There are the discussions on the budget and a supplementary vote on account and I have a responsibility towards my department [Ministry] and Parliament,” she said, explaining her reasons to be in the capital till then.

Alliance with Congress

On electoral alliance with the Congress, she said, “We are already in the UPA [United Progressive Alliance] government, so we are in an alliance. The alliance is there and there is no reason for worry. As for seat sharing it will be determined when they [the Congress] are ready to come for discussions. We are ready.”

Ms. Banerjee appealed to people for peace, now that the election process in the State was on.

“We have to go to the people through the democratic process. It is through this process that one government comes and another goes….The democratic process is the biggest duty of a democracy,” she said.

“Our duty is to establish democracy in a peaceful manner. Why should we not set an example of West Bengal, the place of Rabindranath [Tagore] and [Kazi] Nazrul [Islam], of establishing democracy, where one can freely air ones political views whatever may be the political differences,” she added.

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