TMC accuses BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari of harbouring 'outsiders' in Nandigram
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Monday wrote to the Election Commission (EC) in Delhi, accusing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Suvendu Adhikari of harbouring 'criminals' and 'outside anti-social elements' in several residences at West Bengal's Nandigram. TMC Rajya Sabha MP Derek O'Brien filed the written complaint on behalf of his party and sought the EC's intervention over the issue.
"It has come to our knowledge that Suvendu Adhikari, the candidate fielded by BJP in Nandigram has been harbouring criminals, who are non-residents of Nandigram. We request you to immediately intervene and direct necessary steps to be taken by police to forthwith apprehend all the outside anti-social elements hired and harboured by Suvendu Adhikari," reads the letter, as cited by news agency ANI.
The TMC mentioned four distinct locations where it claims Adhikari has lodged anti-social elements. Specifically naming the locations along with respective addresses of these residences, the TMC alleged that criminals, brought in from 'outside' by the BJP, have taken up shelter in these locales.
Among the residences named by the TMC in its complaint is a two-storeyed house on the Reyapara Hospital lane near Nandigram, where the TMC claims as many as 30-40 young men are residing. The party further alleged that these men arrived from places like Kolaghat, Pingla, and Kanthi in the neighbouring districts and are now terrorising locals in the town.
The rhetoric over who gets categorised as an 'outsider' continues gathering steam in West Bengal ahead of the high-profile Nandigram contest. Suvendu Adhikari had, in one of his first speeches made soon after filing nomination for BJP, branded TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee as an 'outsider' in Nandigram. Soon after this, Banerjee rented not one but two houses in Reyapara to shed the outsider tag levelled by her protege-turned-opponent.
While the first house has been rented for a year, according to neighbours, the other house has been rented for six months. Both houses are located at a distance of approximately 100 metres from each other in the Reyapara area in Nandigram. At a public rally yesterday, the West Bengal chief minister also asserted her plans to build a permanent residence on the banks of the Haldi river in the constituency so that she can visit more frequently.
Nandigram will witness the most high-profile contest of West Bengal elections, with chief minister Mamata Banerjee taking on her former ministerial colleague Suvendu Adhikari, who had joined BJP in December last year. Adhikari had earlier said that the BJP will defeat Banerjee by over 50,000 votes from Nandigram.
The polling in Nandigram will take place on April 1, in the second phase of the upcoming Assembly elections.
The BJP and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) are at loggerheads in poll-bound West Bengal. The top leadership of the BJP has been holding public meetings and roadshows across the state in recent months.
Elections to the 294-member West Bengal Assembly will be held in eight phases starting from March 27 with the final round of voting taking place on April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.
(With inputs from agencies)