Monoranjan Malik and his wife Molina stand patiently in the queue at Bajemelia Primary School, armed with their voter identity cards. The wait for Tapasi Malik’s parents, in fact, began almost five years ago — after the charred body of their daughter was found at the Tata Motors factory site in Singur on December 18, 2006.
“I am voting to get justice for my child, who was raped and murdered by CPI(M) leaders. They are free and we have been waiting for this day so that we can do our bit to bring change,” said Monoranjan Malik. “For me, this is not a vote for development, but for revenge. I want them to be hanged.”
Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee had fasted for the Tapasi Malik and the CBI arrested Suhrid Dutta, CPI(M)’s zonal committee secretary of Singur, and his associate Debu Malik. Both of them were convicted in the lower court, but got bail from the high court.
Tapasi Malik’s parents have played a crucial role for Banerjee and have campaigned with her in different constituencies, including Kolkata. “I ask people to vote for Banerjee. It is just a matter of time before she becomes the chief minister,” said the grieving father.
The Nano factory is a shadow of its past glory. Its buildings and sheds are tottering and factory walls have been breached. A handful of private security guards were seen doing their rounds leisurely.
Not everybody is baying for revenge. Singur is trying desperately to break the deadlock. “We want something to happen. The factory has been abandoned; youths lost their jobs and land is gone. We want development and jobs,” said Joydeb Pakhira, a resident of Joymollah, whose family’s 10-bigha land was acquired by the government.
“We wanted proper compensation and jobs. Groups of youths, about 1,400, got training from Industrial Training Institute and joined the factory. They are now unemployed. You do not know the pain of getting a job and then suddenly losing it,” Pakhira said.
Ratan Tata pulled out from Bengal in October 2008 and Banerjee proposed a railway factory on 600 acres after returning 400 acres to farmers.
Singur now straddles two constituencies. It is witnessing a fight between Trinamool MLA Rabindranath Bhattacharjee and Asit Das of CPI(M). Parts of Singur have been delimited to Haripal where Becharam Manna, Trinamool leader and convener of Singur Krishi Jami Bachao Committee is taking on Bharati Mukherjee of CPI(M). “Delimitation has made the fight tougher for us,” admits CPM leader Dulal Bhowmik.