Trinamool chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has admitted that “mistakes” were made during her rule, but asked the public to continue bestowing their blessings on the party.
Striking an apologetic tone during a public rally at Kulti on Wednesday, Banerjee said, “I am at fault. I take responsibility for all the mistakes. You can be angry with me, but please don’t deprive Trinamool Congress of your blessings. Otherwise, it will be difficult for me to tread my path alone.”
This apology, reminiscent of former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s words of regret for the Singur and Nandigram misadventures, came after the Trinamool Congress’ image took a thorough beating over the last few weeks. The causes were many.
A sting conducted by Narada News on March 14 showed 13 Trinamool leaders accepting cash from the representative of a fictitious company. Later that month, on March 31, a half-constructed flyover collapsed in the heart of Kolkata – killing at least 27 people and triggering widespread allegations of corruption against the ruling party. Demands for the arrest of urban development minister Firhad Hakim were also raised.
“She is in a spot, and is trying to wriggle out of it. After the first phase of the polls, it does not seem like she will remain in power,” said CPI(M) politburo member and Lok Sabha MP Md Salim.
“Mamata Banerjee is showing signs of panic. First it was Saradha, then Narada and now it’s the flyover collapse. People are not buying her development theory,” said Krishanu Mitra, a BJP leader and candidate from Kamarhati constituency. His rival, former minister Madan Mitra, is in jail for his involvement in the Saradha scam.
Significantly, this is the first time Banerjee has ever acted apologetic in public. Till recently, she had been asking the people to cast their votes keeping her image in mind.
The Trinamool Congress is up against the combined strength of the Left and the Congress, which have entered an unprecedented pre-poll alliance in West Bengal. While the Trinamool Congress secured 39.08% votes in the 2011 assembly elections, Congress bagged 8.91% and the Left Front 41.05%.
The vote shares of the three camps were 39.02%, 9.7% and 29.6% respectively in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.