West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Saturday that she offered to resign from her post as the head of the government in her state in a party meeting held in the afternoon today.
The Trinamool Congress president, however, added that she is not going to step down as party chief.
Blaming the Election Commission and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the losses her party suffered in the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections, Banerjee said that she cannot accept the results.
She said that “an emergency situation was created and Hindu-Muslim division”.
“I was not allowed to work. Election was held under total emergency. I can’t accept that. I do not accept an election held with communal and money power,” the TMC chief said at a press conference in Kolkata.
“I told my party that I do not want to continue as Chief Minister of Bengal but I want to continue as party chief because I created this party. The chair is nothing for me. I have left it in seconds (in the past) like railway ministry. But the party symbol matters for me,” she said.
She added that “Hindu-Muslim division was done and votes were divided”.
Banerjee also slammed the Election Commission.
“We complained to the EC but nothing was looked into. The entire Election Commission became the BJP’s,” she said.
From 2 seats in 2014, the BJP scripted history in West Bengal in 2019 by winning 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in an election that witnessed poll violence in every phase. The Congress won 2 seats and the Left drew a blank.
The party led by national president Amit Shah also won four out of the eight assembly segments where by-polls were held. Causing worry to the TMC, the BJP got 40.5 per cent vote share in the by-polls, more than the ruling party’s 37 per cent.
In most cases of political violence, BJP candidates were targeted prompting the saffron party to point fingers at the ruling TMC.
An emergent meeting was convened by Banerjee in the afternoon at her Kalighat residence in South Kolkata to discuss the election performance.
Reports say that all winning and losing Lok Sabha candidates, as also the district presidents and front ranking leaders were present for the meeting.
The thinking in the party is that the shift of 22-23 per cent of the Left Front vote to the Bharatiya Janata Party changed the political equation in the state, making it possible for the BJP to win so many seats.
Banerjee’s offer of resignation came on a day when the Congress Working Committee (CWC) rejected Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s offer of resignation following the embarrassing debacle of the grand old party in the general elections.
The Congress won only 52 seats, eight more than it won in 2014. It was again short of the required 55 seats to qualify for the post of Leader of Opposition in the lower house.