West Bengal chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during her first press conference after Lok Sabha election at her residence in Kolkata on Saturday May 25, 2019. (Photo by Arijit Sen/ Hindustan Times)
In her first press meet after Lok Sabha results, Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said that she told TMC (Trinamool Congress) workers in a meet that she wanted to resign from her position as the chief minister of Bengal, but was persuaded by her party leaders to carry on.
“The chair was never important for me. I wanted to resign. In the past, I resigned as Union minister. I tried to convince my party leaders but they did not agree,” said Mamata Banerjee at a press conference held in Kolkata.
“The chair needs me. I don’t need the chair,” she added. “I was a CM without any powers for the past six months, thanks to the Election Commission.”
The TMC president also slammed Bharatiya Janata Party for “engineering religious polarisation.” “I just don’t accept this school of politics. If that means I will be alone, I don’t mind,” she said.
Holding her ground, Mamata also reiterated that she will not allow NRC in Bengal. However, she said that she will provide constructive cooperation to the Union government.
The TMC chief also remarked that she was defeated by money power. “It (the dominance of money power) is scandalous. It’s ominous for all parties,” she said.
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Mamata alleged that even (Central) government officers were used to distribute money, and admitted that some of Trinamool Congress leaders also succumbed to the lure of the lucre.
However, she dared the BJP to topple her government. “Let them try. Is it so easy?” Mamata said in response to a question that the BJP may try to unseat the TMC from the state government. (Bengal is scheduled to go for Assembly polls in 2021.)
“Why is the BJP so hungry (for power in the state)? Why are they in such a hurry?” she asked.
After the results, it has become clear that the BJP is ahead in 128 of the 294 Assembly segments in the state.
Refusing to believe that it had been a free and fair Lok Sabha elections, the West Bengal chief minister said, “What kind of an election is this? I do not believe or accept the results. I shall be vocal about it and I am ready to die for my beliefs.”
“Can it happen that opposition parties did not get a single seat in a few states? None raised any question when Rajiv Gandhi got more than 400 seats, and when Atalji won. But there is doubt in some minds now. Therefore, some are raising questions,” she added.
Mamata said that TMC vote share rose by a few percentage points. “If we can raise it by a few percentage points more, we don’t care if all the opposition parties unite,” she said.
The Bengal chief minister also questioned why (the ruling party at the Centre) is inviting the prime minister of Pakistan now? “Why did you label others as Pakistan agents during the elections?”
The TMC chief made several changes in the party organisation in a few districts such as Jhargram, West Burdwan, Malda, North Dinajpur, Purulia, Bankura.
Mamata Banerjee questioned the fairness of the election. "I can't accept this. How can BJP win so many seats in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana? People are scared to speak but I am not," she said.
The chief minister also indicated that she will deal strictly with officers who neglected the projects of the people and promoted their own.
"I can only continue if people are willing to take a bold step. We need to increase our vote share. BJP's vote has come from the Left. This is mathematics," said the Chief Minister.
"I can't accept this. How can BJP win so many seats in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana? People are scared to speak but I am not."
Taking a dig at some of her former party leaders she said, “When I take a step against a corrupt leader, he joins a corrupt party.”--ht