TMC bagged 213 seats leading her party to a stunning victory in West Bengal, Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, was unanimously elected leader of the Trinamool Congress legislative party on Monday and will take oath on May 5.
She called on Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar at Raj Bhavan and resigned as the chief minister, as is the practice, before she is administered the oath of office and secrecy again.
She will continue to function in caretaker capacity till then.
Earlier Monday, she addressed a press conference where she spoke of a ”collective fight” by the opposition against the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, but underscored combating the COVID-19 crisis should be the first priority.
”I am just a street fighter. I can boost the morale of the people so that we can fight a strong fight against the BJP. One cannot do everything alone and it should be a collective effort.
”If collectively we can take a decision, together we can fight the battle of 2024.
But first let us fight this COVID crisis and then we will decide on this. Now is not the time,” she said, responding to a question about her role in the 2024 general elections.
Later, the newly elected MLAs of the TMC met and unanimously chose her the leader of the legislature party, before she called on the governor to stake claim to form the government.
During her media interaction, Banerjee again demanded that every citizen of the country should be given free vaccines by the Centre.
”They are sending vaccine and oxygen to two-three states. Why so? Every state should get its due. I have heard that in Gujarat, vaccine is being given from the BJP party office. Do they (BJP) have any expertise in giving vaccines?” she claimed.
Banerjee also claimed that the Left, which ruled the state for 34 years on the trot, was unable to get back the votes that it had lost to the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, leading to its further downfall.
”I may have political differences with them (Left) but I did not want to see them getting zero. It would have been better if they got the votes back from the BJP.
They favoured the BJP so much that they became a signboard. They need to think about this. Dipankar Bhattacharya (CPIM-L) did not do this,” she said.
The chief minister said she did not get the customary call from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on her victory in the elections.
”This is the first time I saw a prime minister not calling. It is ok, he may be busy. I did not take it in sentiment,” she said.
Banerjee lost her seat Nandigram to her former protégé turned adversary, Suvendu Adhikari by 1,956 votes and would have to get re-elected in six months.
On Nandigram results, she said on Monday, “How can the Election Commission reverse the decision after announcing it. We will move court.”
She said that the returning officer messaged someone that if he allowed recounting in Nandigram then his life would be in danger.
Senior leader Partha Chatterjee said that Banerjee would take oath on May 5 and the newly elected MLAs would be sworn in on May 6.
However, Banerjee said that the oath-taking ceremony would be low-key in the view of the pandemic.
But Banerjee is not yet chalking out plans for the general elections of 2024. “I am just a street fighter. I can boost up people so that we can fight against BJP.
But one person can’t do everything alone. I think all together we can fight the battle for 2024. But let’s fight Covid first,” she said in response to questions around the elections of 2024.
She has made Covid management her immediate priority. Banerjee said that she had already asked for 3 crore doses from the Centre 1 crore for the private sector and the balance for the state on payment basis.
However, she added that the central government should consider giving vaccines for free. “We are requesting the Centre to sanction ~30,000 crore for universal vaccination.”
Banerjee also appealed to everyone to maintain peace as post-poll violence was reported in many parts of Bengal.
The MHA (ministry of home affairs) has asked West Bengal government for a report on post-election violence targeting opposition political workers in the state, tweeted spokesperson, MHA.
West Bengal was in the throes of widespread violence on Monday that allegedly left several BJP workers dead and injured in clashes, and shops being looted, prompting the Union Home ministry to seek a factual report from the state governent on incidents of attack on opposition workers.
BJP claimed at least six of its workers and supporters, including a woman, were killed in attacks the party blamed on the TMC. But the charges been denied by TMC