Mamata talks of resignation, then backtracks

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

KOLKATA - Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday asserted that she will “resign from any post” if she failed to prove that the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) was misusing the central forces sent to flush out Maoists from the troubled western districts of West Bengal.

Making her frustration clear at the central government for not heeding to her repeated demands for withdrawal of forces from Lalgarh and other areas, Banerjee told the CNN-IBN channel: “With the central forces, (we have) no objection. But why should the central forces abide by the CPI-M?”

She alleged the CPI-M was using the central forces to attack Trinamool cadres and declared that she could prove her allegation.

“If I am not correct, I can challenge you I will tender my resignation from any post. If I am correct, then they have to withdraw their central forces,” she said.

Banerjee also charged the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) spearhead Congress of not listening to or consulting her party on important issues like price rise of essentials or increase in petroleum product prices.

But as her comments gave rise to intense political speculations about the course she could pursue, Banerjee called a press conference and claimed that her comments had been misinterpreted. She said she had not talked about resigning.

“I have said regarding withdrawal of forces we have spoken to the prime minister as also Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Our party leaders have held umpteen number of meetings with the home minister (P. Chidambaram). It is not right, they don’t know the situation.

“I said, why should central forces act as per CPI-M’s dictates? If I am lying, punish me, but if what I say is true, then the forces should be withdrawn,” she said.

Banerjee also said that the Congress has to decide between her party and the CPI-M. “In Indian politics, the CPI-M and Trinamool can never be together. If anybody asks me to chose between the CPI-M and the Congress, the I will choose the latter,” she said.

“Can DMK and the AIADMK be together? So the Congress has to decide between the Trinamool and the CPI-M.

“We welcome an alliance with the Congress. If they also want an alliance, they are welcome. But if they do not, then we have to think about ourselves… All options are open,” she said.

Trinamool Congress is the second biggest partner of the UPA.

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