Buddha mum on resignation offer, Yechury denies he is quitting (Second Lead)

May 18th, 2009 - 10:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi/Kolkata, May 18 (IANS) Has West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee offered to step down after the CPI-M’s disastrous performance in the polls? While he Monday refused to confirm or deny the speculation, party leader Sitaram Yechury said he was not aware of any such move.
“Not before us,” Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo member Yechury told reporters when asked if the chief minister had offered to resign.

When asked if Bhattacharjee had made the offer in Kolkata, Yechury said: “That I don’t know.”

Yechury was speaking to reporters in Delhi after a meeting of the politburo that reviewed the party’s performance in the Lok Sabha elections.

Asked why Bhattacharjee did not attend the meeting, he said: “This is because there is apprehension of violence in West Bengal; his presence is necessary in the state. He is not only the chief minister but also the home minister.”

Earlier in Kolkata, Bhattacharjee refused to answer persistent questions thrown at him about his reported offer to quit.

He went to the state secretariat, Writers’ Buildings, in the morning and stayed there the whole day. From his office, Bhattacharjee went to veteran CPI-M leader and his predecessor Jyoti Basu’s home in Kolkata’s satellite township Salt Lake.

Speculation was rife that Bhattacharjee had offered to resign, though Left Front chairman Biman Bose earlier Monday ruled out the possibility, terming it “gossip”.

The Left Front, which has been in power in West Bengal since 1977, won 15 seats in the just-concluded Lok Sabha polls, down from 35 in the 2004 elections.

West Bengal sends 42 representatives to the Lok Sabha. The opposition Trinamool-Congress-SUCI combine got 26 seats, while one went to the Bharatiya Janata Party.

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