Mamata Banerjee: I made many big mistakes

Calling those leaving Trinamul as thievesâ€, she made it clear that she would not allow anyone like that in her party any longer.

Kolkata: For the first time since her party’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal, Trinamul Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday admitted she had committed “many major mistakes”. She also called for rectification of these errors. The chief minister also vowed to create “500 more leaders” in her party even if one defected to the BJP.

Calling those leaving Trinamul as “thieves”, she made it clear that she would not allow anyone like that in her party any longer. Ms Banerjee’s candid confession on her party leadership’s faults assumes significance as five Trinamul MLAs defected to the BJP after the parliamentary polls, while one municipal body after another have been coming into the saffron fold. Ms Banerjee told Trinamul councillors at a meeting in Nazrul Mancha here: “If one leaves, I will create 500 more leaders. But I would not allow thieves to be in my party. I know everything. We too have committed no less mistakes. Bikash Bose was murdered during CPI(M) rule, but no justice came. His wife was an MLA. But we did not give her a ticket.”

She added: “We gave a ticket to another on the words of a relative. Isn’t it our mistake? Definitely it is. We loved that person too much. We have to rectify these mistakes. It is not only workers who commit mistakes. We also do it equally. And I think it is our major mistake.” Her comments led to massive applause by her party leaders gathered there.

Referring to BJP leader Mukul Roy, who was once the number two in the TMC, the Trinamul supremo trained her guns on him in the wake of his MLA son Shubhrangshu’s defection to the BJP recently. While not referring to them by name, the chief minister said: “Since the father was in the party, we gave a ticket to his son. Father and son were in two bags. It was a pocket package. So we will have to come out of it.”

Blaming Trinamul district leaders for distributing tickets whimsically in the panchayat election which reflected the BJP’s rise, the CM claimed: “Panchayat members get involved in panchayat elections because it is the most problematic... Many local leaders who were given tickets by the party passed it on to their wives... From now on, we will not give tickets in lots. It will be given individually.”

Ms Banerjee added: “Our party leaders in the districts were given around 70,000 tickets, as it is not possible for any party to make a tally of each and every individual at the ground level. But now a different system has to be introduced, creating a data bank. At many places, suitable candidates were dropped. We have got this report. There are some municipalities where such things have happened.”

Eyeing next year’s municipal elections, she told Trinamul leader Subrata Bakshi: “Bakshida, do not distribute tickets for the municipal polls in this way. Give the tickets to the candidates individually. Do not give tickets on the instructions of district leaders or anyone. Performance will be reviewed so that a candidate works well. Only then he will get a ticket. Before that, prepare the voters’ list properly.”

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