Nandigram: Mamata Banerjee alleges attack after filing nomination papers - Hindustan Times
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Nandigram: Mamata Banerjee alleges attack after filing nomination papers

By, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Mar 10, 2021 11:18 PM IST

Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders said the incident happened around 6.30pm, when Banerjee was about to leave the area after offering prayers at a local temple. She was interacting with the crowd when the men approached her, they added.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee alleged on Wednesday that she sustained injuries on her left leg after being attacked by unidentified men in Nandigram, hours after she filed her nomination from the high-profile seat where she is fighting her protégé-turned-rival Suvendu Adhikari.

West Bengal chief minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee. (File photo)
West Bengal chief minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee. (File photo)

Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders said the incident happened around 6.30pm, when Banerjee was about to leave the area after offering prayers at a local temple. She was interacting with the crowd when the men approached her, they added.

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“I was inside the car and greeting the people. They came and banged the door. I sustained injuries on my leg...there were many people. But 4-5 people did it deliberately. This is certainly a conspiracy,”said Banerjee, 66, adding that she would file a complaint with the Election Commission of India (ECI)

Banerjee, who usually gets Z+ security, said she was running a fever, was in pain and alleged that there was no local police or superintendent at the spot. Pointing to her leg that was covered by a white cloth, she said, “See how it has swollen. It is paining too much.”

Visuals showed Banerjee carried by her security personnel to the back seat of her vehicle. There were no visuals of the attack despite her tour to the East Midnapore town being followed by scores of media persons.

A senior police official from East Midnapore district said, “Nothing can be said as of now. We are looking into it.”

Banerjee cut short her two-day tour and was rushed to the state-run SSKM hospital in Kolkata, about 130km away. A team of five senior doctors was set up to treat her as hundreds of TMC supporters gathered outside the hospital and shouted slogans in her support.

“We will stabilise her first. An X-ray will be conducted on her leg. We need to find out the degree of her injury and then the course of our treatment will be decided,” a doctor at the hospital told PTI. The chief minister’s nephew and party MP Abhishek Banerjee, and state ministers Partha Chatterjee, Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee were present at the hospital.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the CM was trying to mislead the public.

“When Mamata goes on a padayatra, there are at least 100 policemen behind her. I feel that this is an attempt to mislead the people. I have full sympathy for her. But she should not project it as if it was done by the opposition and try to garner sympathy. If she has the courage, she should order a CBI probe,” said Kailash Vijayvargiya, BJP’s national general secretary and West Bengal in-charge

State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said “tactics to gain sympathy” will not work.

“We are all deeply concerned. The BJP has stooped to such low levels. Those who are saying such things against a woman chief minister are uncivilised,” said Saugata Roy, TMC MP.

TMC leaders pointed out that the state police is currently under EC, and the incident came a day after the poll watchdog replaced the state’s top police official. By late evening, protests had erupted in many corners of the state.

ECI sought a report from the state’s chief secretary, special police observer and special general observer, said people aware of developments. The report is expected by Friday evening.

The incident came at the end of an action-packed day that saw Banerjee file her nomination for the April 1 election. She is facing Adhikari, who held a road show and inaugurated his election office. Nandigram is Adhikari’s home turf, and he is expected to file his nomination papers later this week.

 “She (Banerjee) has fled from Singur. She has fled from Bhawanipore. The TMC candidate in Nandigram is an outsider. She comes to seek votes every five years. The people would reject her,” he said.

Banerjee’s decision to shift from her traditional south Kolkata seat to take on Adhikari in Nandigram put the national spotlight on the nondescript town, which was the site of mass movements against land acquisition and police violence in 2006-08 and helped propel the TMC to a historic victory against a 34-year-long Left government in 2011.

Banerjee received widespread support from other Opposition politicians. “I unequivocally condemn the cowardly & despicable attack…nation knows that people who have no belief in democracy can stoop to any level to vent their frustration of fighting a lost battle,” said Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav.

“I strongly condemn the attack on Mamta Didi. Those responsible should be immediately arrested and punished,” said Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav called for a high-level probe.

Banerjee started her career as a firebrand worker with the youth wing of the Congress in Bengal and won her first Lok Sabha election in 1984. In 1990, a Left supporter attacked her during a rally and grievously injured her on the head. Photographs of a bloodied Banerjee made her a national figure. She has never lost an election since. 

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