Rabindranath Bhattacharya with children at his home in Singur on Friday. (Amit Datta)
Singur, Nov. 30: Dissident minister Rabindranath Bhattacharya today said he had decided to quit active politics, the comments coming hours after Mamata Banerjee left Singur without uttering a word on him.
The 80-year-old Singur MLA said he had conveyed his wish in writing to Mamata and was waiting for her nod before submitting his resignation in the Assembly.
“I am finding it difficult to cope physically and mentally with the rigours of active politics. I want to take political sanyas,” Bhattacharya said at a news conference at his home in Singur.
The leader who was at the forefront of the anti-land acquisition movement added: “On November 16, I spoke to a party leader close to the chief minister about my wish to resign.
“A day before the ministry shuffle on November 21, I handed a letter to the chief minister mentioning that I was not well and could not take the pressure of discharging my duties as minister. She said she was not willing to let me go. I have not heard from her since then. Ask the chief minister whether she has accepted my resignation.”
Bhattacharya said he was 80 and had undergone a bypass surgery a year ago. “For these reasons, I want to be relieved of all political duties,” he said.
The Singur leader was transferred to the less-important statistics and programme implementation ministry from agriculture in the shuffle. Bhattacharya had initially said he would not join the new assignment for 15 days, adding that the people of Singur had “not taken kindly” to the move to transfer him. Later, he had said he would not join his new department.
Today, he said he would wait for some more days before proceeding further. “Let me see how the party responds to my call (for resignation). I am not giving any ultimatum. I will wait for some more days,” he said.
Trinamul sources said Mamata was “unhappy” with Bhattacharya for publicly alleging that a section of party leaders was involved in extortion.
While Mamata spoke to another disgruntled senior Trinamul leader, Shobhandeb Chattopadhyay, after deputing Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee to placate him, no such effort was made in Bhattacharya’s case.
Bhattacharya said he was not called to the administrative meeting held by Mamata in Singur today. “I had conveyed the residents’ demand of a college in Singur. It doesn’t matter if I was not present when the project was unveiled. I am happy that she made the announcement,” he said.
The schoolteacher-turned-politician said he would devote his time to his family and books. “After becoming minister, I could not get much time to read. Now, I can get back to reading and spend time with my family,” he said.