Mamata to fight from Nandigram in a bid to win back electorates, send message to Suvendu Adhikari
- The Nandigram movement was instrumental in the TMC’s rise to power in the eastern state as well as in the country’s recent political history.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday declared she will contest the upcoming state assembly elections from Nandigram, which is being seen as a move to thwart the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) electoral ambitions in the state as she will go head-to-head with Trinamool Congress rebel Suvendu Adhikari. Adhikari had won from Nandigram in 2016.
“I have always started my campaign for the assembly polls from Nandigram. It is a lucky place for me. So this time, I feel that I should contest the assembly polls from here. I would request our state party president Subrata Bakshi to approve my name from this seat,” Banerjee was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Adhikari had joined the BJP in presence of Union home minister Amit Shah in December and had vowed to defeat the TMC in the elections which will be held later this year. Banerjee’s decision can also be seen as an attempt to regain trust with the electorates of Nandigram, a village where a movement led by villagers protesting against the allotment of their lands for a special economic zone, catapulted her party towards success in Bengal.
Criticising the BJP during her Nandigram rally during the day, Banerjee also called the BJP ‘washing powder’ claiming that it has become a place for tainted politicians to ‘clean up their dirty act’. “The BJP is the biggest junk party in the country. The BJP is not a political party but washing powder. It's using moneybags and intimidatory tactics to lure or coerce TMC leaders into joining them,” Banerjee was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. The chief minister also said she will contest from Bhawanipore in South Kolkata, the seat she had won in the by-polls in 2011 and retained in 2016.
The Nandigram movement was instrumental in the TMC’s rise to power in the eastern state as well as in the country’s recent political history. Several incidents of violence were reported throughout 2007 which led to the death of villagers either due to police firing or due to fights between the CPI(M) cadres and villagers protesting against the allotment of land.
In 2007, Suvendu Adhikari was one of the leaders who spearheaded the anti-land acquisition movement in Nandigram. Adhikari was also responsible for expanding the party’s base against the CPI(M) in West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura. Once considered Banerjee’s all-weather man, Adhikari’s defection, along with his brother Soumendu Adhikari and nine other TMC MLAs and one MP in the presence of Shah, affected the Trinamool Congress as Banerjee was forced to answer questions regarding her government’s stability.
Hitting back, Adhikari said Banerjee would lose the elections. "She goes to Nandigram only during elections. Can she tell what has she done for the people of Nandigram? Whoever would contest against her, she would lose by 50,000 votes. If I fail to make her lose, I will leave politics," the BJP leader said, according to news agency ANI.
Assembly elections are scheduled to be held in West Bengal in April and May this year. Banerjee's party, which suffered several defections over the past few months, is aiming to stop the BJP from gaining ground in the state. The BJP is confident that it will come to power in the upcoming state polls. The party had won 18 seats in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, remains
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