The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tearful Mamata resigns, only to roll back

Calcutta, May 15: Mamata Banerjee today sought to pre-empt a possible turmoil within the Trinamul Congress by offering to resign as chairperson of the party but her colleagues dissuaded her after high drama.

“I can’t protect my supporters from the terror of the CPM. My boys are getting beaten up and their houses are being set on fire by CPM activists. I am unable to protect them. So, what is the use of staying at the helm of party affairs' I will resign from the post of the chairperson,” a tearful Mamata told her party leaders.

Shocked Trinamul leaders called an emergency meeting at the party office this evening to persuade Mamata to withdraw her two-page resignation letter. A little after 9.30 pm, all prominent Trinamul leaders, including Sudip Bandopadhyay, went into a huddle with Mamata in the conference room of the new party office on EM Bypass. One after the other, they told Mamata that the situation demanded that she remained at the top of the party.

“We told Mamata that we have full confidence in her. Only you can lead the party from the front,” said mayor Subrata Mukherjee after the meeting.

A misty-eyed Mamata told them: “Believe me, I can’t bear this bloodshed anymore. There is a feeling in certain quarters that Trinamul has lost its sting and is unable to carry out a sustained movement on important issues. So, why should I remain the chairperson of the party'”

Close to midnight, Mamata relented and withdrew the resignation.

Earlier, Trinamul had decided to boycott the remaining part of the budget session of the Assembly to protest the “farcical” poll.

Trinamul MLAs will also stay away from the meetings of the various House committees during this period. The session, adjourned early last month, is expected to resume end-June and will continue for about a month-and-a-half.

A joint meeting of Trinamul legislators and MPs initially considered a proposal to call a Bangla bandh as a mark of protest against the CPM’s “terror”, but ultimately rejected the idea.

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