'I Don't Care for the Chair': Mamata Banerjee Offers to Quit as CM, Trinamool Turns Down Her Proposal
Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday surprised everyone by claiming that she wanted to resign but the proposal was turned down by her Trinamool Congress party.
Breaking her silence two days after the Lok Sabha election results were announced, Banerjee said, “Aamar vivekey legechhey (It has hurt my conscience). This shows that people didn’t vote. The chair is not important for me. I don’t care for the CM’s chair. I wanted to resign as chief minister before and wanted to work as a party president, but my colleagues prevented me from doing so. I can continue (only on one condition): if all of us raise our voices jointly.”
On the BJP securing a landslide victory, Banerjee said she had apprehensions over the scale of the win accused the BJP of polarising people on religious lines to garner votes in the state. She wondered if some "sort of setting or foreign power" played a role in such a huge victory of the saffron party.
Banerjee addressed the press conference after conducting a party meeting following the poll result debacle in West Bengal. The BJP won 18 seats, up from the two it had won in 2014, while the TMC won 22 seats and the Congress bagged two.
"In Bengal, they gave Rs 5,000 for one vote. I was helpless for a couple of months because they (BJP) didn’t allow me to work. The police and the administration was reporting to the Election Commission (EC). The EC worked on behalf of the BJP," she said. "I should say they (EC) is the man of the match."
Banerjee said an "undemocratic, Emergency-like situation" had forced her to act like "a powerless chief minister" for the last six months. "Therefore, I wanted to resign because I lost interest under such a situation. I decided to continue only because my party asked me to do so,” she added.
“Why is the BJP so hungry to get all the administration?" she asked. "In Bengal, the CPI (M) helped the BJP to gain a foothold."
Banerjee declined to accept that there was any "Modi wave" and claimed that the BJP had "looted" votes in a systemic way to get these numbers.
"How is it possible that the Congress failed to win even one seat in Gujarat, Haryana, or Delhi. What about Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh which Congress won just few months back? Should I accept that there everything was in order, there was no manipulation," she said.
Claiming that her government has fulfilled all the commitments made to the people, Banerjee said she now will concentrate more on her party. "One party that did not commit anything, won seats. I think, I have done more for people. Now I need to work for my party," she said.
Renewing her attack against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, Banerjee said, "Rajiv Gandhi got 400 seats. Could he run Parliament? So, such arrogance is not good. Opposition leaders were called Pakistanis when they raised questions. Now why is the Pakistan PM invited? Isn't it anti-national?"
She reiterated that she will continue to fight against communalism.
"I will attend Iftar party. You may say I appease Muslims. You can say that, it’s your prerogative. But, I am ready to be kicked by the cow which gives milk," she said in a reference to Muslims voting in her favour.
(With inputs from agencies)