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2-min read

‘Bad M’ Jibe Returns to Haunt Mamata in Singur Where She’s Fighting Her Career’s Fiercest Battle

The BJP enjoys a strong presence in Hooghly and Mamata Banerjee is having to fight a fierce battle in Singur to send across message that her anti-land acquisition movement against Ratan Tata was justified and in the interest of farmers.

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:May 6, 2019, 3:17 PM IST
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‘Bad M’ Jibe Returns to Haunt Mamata in Singur Where She’s Fighting Her Career’s Fiercest Battle
File photo of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
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Singur/Hooghly: Ten years after Tata Motors was forced to move its Nano car project out of West Bengal’s Singur owing to Mamata Banerjee’s anti-land acquisition movement, Ratan Tata’s famous ‘Bad-M and Good-M’ jibe has returned to haunt the Trinamool Congress chief in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

After a brief meeting with former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on October 3, 2008, Ratan Tata had decided to move the Nano project out of West Bengal. Narendra Modi, the then Gujarat chief minister, had asked him to set up the plant in Sanand instead.

"I hope there is a bad 'M' and a good 'M'," the industrialist had quipped shortly after Gujarat became the new home for his small car project.

Little did Banerjee know that she would one day fight one of the most high-voltage political battles of her career against the Narendra Modi-led BJP in Bengal.

Singur, one of the seven constituencies in the Hooghly Lok Sabha seat, proved to be a turning point in Banerjee’s political career in 2011 when it helped end the 34-year rule of the Left Front in the state.

The BJP now enjoys a strong presence in Hooghly and Banerjee is having to fight a fierce battle in Singur to send across message that her anti-land acquisition movement against Ratan Tata was justified and pro-farmers.

However, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh rejects the notion that the 2008 move was in the interest of farmers. “You go to any village in Singur … the farmers are angry there. They are feeling cheated by the TMC. You ask anyone, they will say the TMC used them for their political interests. Even though a portion of land was handed over to the farmers, it is of no use to them now. It has become uncultivable. Voters will remember the ‘good M and a bad M’ jibe this time.”

Three years after Tata Motors moved out of Bengal, Banerjee became the chief minister (2011) and decided to return the land to the Singur farmers. After a long legal battle with the Tatas, in 2016, the Supreme Court ordered to return 997 acres of agricultural land to 9,117 landowners.

“It is true that we got our lands back but more than 500 acres are not fertile. There will be no farming and we are jobless now. We have realised over the years that the Nano factory was a good decision by the Left Front government. It was our mistake to support the TMC movement,” Hari Mondal, one of the villagers at Kaserberia in Singur, told News18.

TMC MLA Becharam Manna, who actively led the anti-land acquisition movement, was not available for a comment.

This time, TMC’s two-term MP Ratna De Nag and BJP’s Mahila Morcha president Locket Chatterjee are pitted against each other from the Hooghly Lok Sabha seat. The CPI(M) has fielded Pradip Saha and Pratul Chandra Saha is contesting on behalf of the Congress.

In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Ratna De had defeated Saha by 1,89,084 votes. Senior BJP leader Chandan Mitra stood third by securing 2,21,271 votes.

The other constituencies in Hooghly are Chandannagar, Chunchura, Balagarh (SC), Pandua, Saptagram and Dhanekhali (SC).

The fifth phase of polling is underway in Bongaon, Barrackpore, Howrah, Uluberia, Srirampur, Hooghly, Arambag.
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