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Mamata offers to quit as CM, party doesn't endorse (2nd lead)

Saturday - May 25, 2019 10:42 pm , Category : INDIA
Kolkata, May 25 (IANS) Two days after her party suffered serious setbacks in the Lok Sabha elections, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday offered to step down from her post, saying she felt "insulted" as she was made to continue as a "powerless Chief Minister" for the last five-six months.
Banerjee said that she had expressed her desire to quit the Chief Minister's post at an emergent meeting of the Trinamool Congres, but her decision was not endorsed by those present at the meeting.
"I feel insulted. I was not allowed to work for the last six months. The elections were conducted in an emergency fashion. I did not have power and continued as a powerless Chief Minister because of the Election Commission.
"In the meeting I expressed my desire to step down as Chief Minister, but those present did not endorse my decision," Banerjee told mediapersons after the meeting.
Banerjee said at the outset of the meeting that she wanted to step down as the Chief Minister but would continue as the party President as she had founded the Trinamool Congress.
"I had earlier resigned from the Railway Minster's post. Chair means nothing to me. My party's symbol matters to me," she said.
She also accused the BJP of distributing money among the voters, CPI-M cadres and some activists and lower level leaders who were "greedy" to sell votes.
Sounding hurt at people for not voting for her party despite her government "fulfilling all commitments made to the masses," Banerjee said: "Now I will concentrate on my party...Development has no value. One party that did not fulfil any commitment won the seats. I think I have done too much for the people. Now I need to take care of my party."
She said the poll results have hurt her ideals, her conscience.
"Those who did not vote for me, don't endorse me. Those who voted for them (BJP) by thinking along communal lines also do not like me.
"My ideal, my conscience is hurt. I don't want to occupy this chair for my satisfaction. This time they did not agree to my request (to quit the post). But I have told my party that it depends on my wish. I will continue only if everybody protests boldly and unitedly (against the Modi government's activities)," she said.
Banerjee also held some of her party leaders responsible for Trinamool's dismal performance in the Lok Sabha polls.
"Some party leaders who are greedy have been identified and actions have been taken against them. We will review the results for each and every block," she said.
Asked what went wrong in terms of the opposition alliance, Banerjee said she tried hard to bring all the opposition parties on a platform but could not succeed.
"It would have been a success had the Congress taken the initiative," she said.
Asked whether the violence in the last panchayat elections and people's anger for not being able to exercise their franchise then adversely affected her party in the general elections, Banerjee said: "What happened in Tripura? In 98 per cent of the seats there was no contest. And please remember, Bengal was number one in political violence before we came to power."
Banerjee also reiterated that her party would not allow the implementation of National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the West Bengal.

--IANS bdc-ssp/arm