Mamata Banerjee offers to quit as West Bengal Chief Minister, Trinamool Congress rejects

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a press conference in Kolkata on May 25, 2019. Photo: Facebook/@MamataBanerjeeOfficial

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a press conference in Kolkata on May 25, 2019. Photo: Facebook/@MamataBanerjeeOfficial

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee broke her silence on May 25, two days after the results of the 2019 general elections were declared, saying that she had offered to resign as Chief Minister of West Bengal at a party meeting earlier in the day but her party colleagues rejected the proposal.

“I said that I don’t want to continue as Chief Minister. Chair is nothing to me. When money decides the fate of democracy... I do not want to work as CM,” Ms. Banerjee said.

In her first press conference after the sweeping victory of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Ms. Banerjee remained defiant and accused the former of winning the election by “spreading the poison of communalism”.

Nephew sidelined

Ms Banerjee also made certain changes in the party, where her nephew and MP Abhishek Banerjee appears to have been sidelined. Ms. Banerjee said that Trinamool leader and Minister Suvendu Adhikari will be in charge of the Jangalmahal region, the contiguous forested area of Purulia, Bankura, Paschim Medinipur and Jhargram. “Abhishek will look after voter list,” she said, indicating that the Diamond Harbour MP may not henceforth wield the influence he used to till recently. Mr. Abhishek Banerjee was in-charge of areas like Purulia where the party lost in the polls. The Trinamool chairperson gave key posts in the party to candidates who have lost the Lok Sabha polls. “ All positive persons have been accommodated,” Ms. Banerjee said. 

While Ms. Banerjee accused the BJP of “spreading the poison of communalism”, a remark made by her created a controversy. Referring to her plans of attending an Iftar party, she told journalists that she is accused of Muslim appeasement and then used a Bengali phrase that roughly translates into: “One has accept the kicks of a milch cow”. In the recently concluded polls, Muslims have voted overwhelmingly for the Trinamool. The State BJP leadership was quick to pounce upon the comment with party leader Shamik Bhattacharya saying that it was the Chief Minister herself, who was “spreading communal poison”. 

During the press conference Ms. Banerjee also raised questions on Election Commission describing the constitutional body “as the man of match” and asked why the model code of conduct has not been removed. “This huge victory is not beyond suspicion. It is quite astonishing how opposition is completely wiped out in several states. There has been some setting and foreign powers are also involved,” she claimed.

Ms. Banerjee, who was visibly upset with the results, said that from now onwards she will dedicate more time to the party. “May be, I have done a little too much for the people,” Ms. Banerjee said, often referring during the press conference that development has not been an issue in this elections.

She described the shifting of votes from the Left parties to the BJP as “scandalous and big blunder” and said that what she has been saying about the Opposition parties working together against Trinamool Congress in Bengal has turned true. Ms. Banerjee came down heavily on the claims by a section of BJP leaders that her government will collapse in few months alleging that it is indulging in horse-trading. “Why is the BJP hungry to take all the administration,” she asked. 

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 11:06:53 am |