West Bengal Chief Minister Budhdhadeb Bhattacharjee on Monday night said that he is still contemplating on his offer to quit from the prime post in the state, and would come up in a day or two with his final decision.
Buddhadeb gave the statement after meeting Communist Party of India-Marxist patriarch Jyoti Basu, during which Basu gave certain important 'tips' and also boosted his morale, Budhda said.
Earlier, politburo member and Left Front chairman Biman Bose described Bhattacharjee's resignation offer as 'rubbish', the chief minister's stance during his Press interaction on Monday afternoon kept the 'rumours' alive.
Bhattacharjee, sporting a thoughful look, carefully avoided questions on his resignation and replied in monosyllables.
Bhattacharjee, along with Basu, voiced their reservations over the Left decision to withdraw support to the United Progressive Alliance government over the Indo-US nuclear deal issue.They are said to be upset over the party rout in the state.
Bhattacharjee had also expressed his intent to resign earlier soon after police fired on innocent villagers at Nandigram on March 14, 2007.
It is said that Bhattacharjee had sent his resignation to CPI-M state chief Biman Bose on Sunday itself. The chief minister, it is said, is intentionally skipping the crucial Monday's politburo meeting in New Delhi.
According to insiders, Bhattacharjee wanted to step down, claiming responsibility for the party's poor show in the Lok Sabha polls. It is speculated that the decision will be made public after the politburo meet.
"The chief minister's ties with Karat and group soured over many issues in the past, but things came to a flashpoint when Somnath Chatterjee -- the then Lok Sabha speaker -- was expelled from the party prior to the trust vote on July 22," a CPM insider told rediff.com, seeking anonymity.
"Bhattacharjee has great respect for Chatterjee and his ouster did not go down well with him. During the party meetings, he expressed his displeasure over the issue, but then the top leadership rarely has time for such 'non-issues'," he added.
"Now that the party faired so badly in the polls, the chief minister is extremely angry and frustrated," the insider pointed out.
Interestingly, before the Lok Sabha polls, Bhattacharjee said he was trying to bring Chatterjee back to the party.
In an interview to rediff.com, West Bengal's Sports, Transport and Youth Affairs Minister Subhas Chakraborty also said, "People at the helm of party should have a strong base among the people of the country. That, however, is not the case with some important members".
By the word 'important members', the minister was clearly pointing at Prakash, Brinda Karat and Biman Bose. The comments created quite a furore among the CPI-M leaders in West Bengal and New Delhi.
But with the jolt to the Left Front at the hustings, the state CPI-M leaders started singing a different tune.
On Sunday, Biman Bose openly said the party's opposition to the Indo-United States nuclear deal was responsible for the debacle -- a remark clearly targeting Karat.
Meanwhile, Somnath Chatterjee, who kept mum since his expulsion, has started voicing grievances against Karat and company. He even wrote a column in a vernacular daily on Monday, explaining why Karat should quit.