West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced on Monday that she will contest the upcoming elections in the state from Nandigram, the seat held by rebel Suvendu Adhikari who joined the BJP.
Addressing a huge public rally at Tekhali in Nandigram, Mamata said, “Nandigram is close to my heart. I can forget my name but I cannot forget Nandigram. Considering the emotional attachment I have with the people of Nandigram, today I am announcing that I wish to contest the upcoming poll from Nandigram."
“I would like to request my state president Subrata Bakshi to consider my name as the candidate from Nandigram in the 2021 state polls. I will not leave attention towards my Bhawanipur seat. I promise to the people of Bhawanipur that I will give a good candidate there," she said.
However, later she clarified that she is eager to contest from the Bhawanipur seat as well. “I would like to contest from both the seats because I feel that both Nandigram and Bhawanipur are like my sisters," she said.
Regarding Adhikari, the TMC supremo said, “There are people who are flying from one place to another to save their black money and to save themselves from getting arrested by agencies. I am happy that such people are out of the TMC. I am sure people in Nandigram will do the needful for me."
Banerjee came to power, ending the 34-year-long rule of the Left, while riding the Singur and Nandigram anti-land acquisition movements. Looks like, once again, TMC has come up with this well thought strategy to field Mamata from Nandigram considering it is a minority dominated region as well as the seat that was held by Adhikari.
Adhikari joined the BJP in December 2020.
Hours later, Adhikari said the Bengal chief minister “remembered Nandigram only during polls". “Mamata has remembered Nandigram only during elections. What has she done for Nandigram? This place will never forgive her. You, your corrupt nephew and your ‘private limited’ can make announcements. But you will lose Nandigram by over half a lakh votes, or else I will quit politics. Whether it be me or anyone whom the BJP chooses to contest from Nandigram, will beat Mamata by over half lakh votes," Adhikari said at his rally.
Nandigram, considered a strong home bastion of rebel TMC leader Adhikari (now in the BJP) and his family, is now set to see a direct contest with Banerjee in fray.
The seat, located in the Purba Medinipur district of West Bengal, was won by Adhikari in 2016, but has been with the TMC since the by-elections in 2009. Firoja Bibi from the party first won this seat in the bypolls and again in the 2011 Assembly elections.
BJP’s Amit Malviya said, “Mamata Banerjee’s decision to shift seat from Bhowanipore to Nandigram, for the first time in 10 years, indicates her political nervousness… Will she explain why IPS Satyajit Bandopadhyay, chargesheeted by CBI for firing on protesting farmers in Nandigram, was inducted in TMC?"
The BJP poses a tough fight in the West Bengal in the upcoming elections with several TMC leaders having joined the party.