Trinamool Congress president Mamata Banerjee Saturday offered to quit as chief minister of West Bengal following her party’s drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls, but the TMC rejected it.
Addressing her first press conference after the election results were declared, she accused the BJP of polarising people on religious lines to garner votes in West Bengal and wondered if some “sort of setting or foreign power” played a role in such a huge victory of the saffron party.
West Bengal witnessed a saffron surge on Thursday as the BJP inflicted a deadly blow to ruling Trinamool Congress by winning 18 of the total 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state. The TMC won 22 seats, down from 34 in 2014.
“I wanted to resign from the post of chief minister. The chair is nothing for me. But, the party rejected it. I don’t need the chair, but the chair needs me,” said Banerjee after an hour-long meeting with all candidates and senior leaders of the party.
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.
“Money power and religious divide prominently came into play. The administration was taken over by ECI for last five months. How can I remain the chief minister in such a scenario? That’s why I had offered to step down,” she said.
The BJP which had only two Lok Sabha seats in last general elections and hitherto not a major force in the state did better than the Left Front and the Congress after good performance in the last year’s rural polls to emerge as the main challenger to the TMC in Bengal.