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 the post. 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. 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.
The meeting was held in the backdrop of Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) stunning show in West Bengal, where it won 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats. This was BJP’s best performance in the State since the formation of the party. It had won just two seats in 2014.
The Trinamool Congress, which had triumphed in 34 seats five years back, won 22 seats this time around. The Congress got the remaining two seats. After LS jolt, Trinamool in shock, fear of exodus looms large: TWO days after suffering major setbacks in the Lok Sabha polls, despondency of the West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress is palpable.
The Mamata Banerjee-ruled party’s workers and leaders appear to be in a fix, amid repeated claims by the BJP camp that many of its MLAs were ready to switch sides. While the Trinamool leaders publicly have been putting the blame on the CPI(M) for the “transfer of its vote” to the BJP, off the record they speak of the incessant factional feuds, the muscle-flexing by the party during last year’s Panchayat polls when opponents were not even allowed to file nominations, and the “rampant corruption” of the middle and lower level fucntionaries in the districts.
The Trinamool, which had won 34 seats in the general elections five years back, saw its number drastically slashed to 22 this time, amid a saffron surge that gave the BJP an unprecedented 18 seats. The BJP had won only two seats in 2014. There is much to worry in the Trinamool camp with tough days ahead. The leadership and the booth level workers seem resigned to the “certainty” of the BJP Government putting enormous pressure on the Trinamool by “using the central agencies” and getting the CBI to step up probe into the Narada sting footage case as also into the Saradha ponzi scam cases. Already, the Enforcement Directorate has served a notice on the daughter of a Trinamool leader relating to a money laundering case, party sources said.