TMC MP Sisir Kumar Adhikari, father of Suvendu Adhikari, claimed that his son is contesting from Nandigram in East Midnapore and chances of ‘unfavourable results’ for Mamata Banerjee is high.
Banerjee played a masterstroke on Friday after she had announced to contest from Nandigram in the upcoming assembly poll in 2021. Nandigram is the prestige battle for the CM because she demolished the Left Front rule in Bengal while riding the Nandigram anti-land acquisition movements, which have left the ‘Left’ insignificant in the state’s politics.
It is learnt that on March 9, TMC will release its poll manifesto and on March 11, she will file her nomination from Nandigram in East Midnapore.
Speaking to News18.com, Sisir Kumar Adhikari, said, “Yes, Suvendu will contest from Nandigram and Mamata Banerjee will not get favourable results. Everybody knows that the results will be in favour of Suvendu.”
Sisir Adhikari is the Member of Parliament in Lok Sabha from TMC representing the Contai seat since 2009. He also served as former Union Minister of State for Rural Development in the Manmohan Singh government.
He was the Chairman of Contai Municipality for more than 25 years. Along with his son, Suvendu Adhikari, he also played a crucial role in the Nandigram anti-land acquisition movement.
Nandigram is considered as a strong bastion of rebel TMC leader Suvendu Adhikari (now in BJP) and Mamata’s today announcement to contest from this region could be seen as her direct challenge to the Adhikari family.
Suvendu was the key man behind Mamata Banerjee’s movement in Nandigram in East Midnapore in 2007 which helped her to oust the 34-years of Left Front rule in Bengal. Over the years, Mamata also gave due respect to him and his family members for their dedication towards the party.
Since then, Suvendu is known as one of the powerful leaders in the party but party insiders claimed that he was not happy with the ‘attitude’ of few TMC leaders but despite that he decided to work hard for the party only on ‘Mamata’s instruction’ and no one else.
For the last few years Suvendu preferred to stay away from key TMC events and rallies. On April 21, 2017, he didn’t attend TMC’s organizational meet at Netaji Indoor Stadium reportedly citing health issues. In March, 2020, once again he was absent from a party at the same Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata.
He once again put the party in an uncomfortable situation after he gave a miss to a government programme in Jhargram on August 9, 2020 to mark International Day of World’s Indigenous People. He was supposed to address an official meet along with state education minister and Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee but instead he attended another private event at nearby Sido Kanhu Hall at Sialgeria Maidan in the same district.
Suvendu’s absence from crucial party meetings has created a discomfort in the party as many felt that such a gesture may go against them ahead of the Assembly polls in the state in 2021.
Finally on December 19, Suvendu ended all speculations and officially joined the BJP in presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah in a public rally in Bengal.
Now with Mamata’s announcement to contest from Nandigram – it won’t be any easy task for Suvendu to ensure all the 35 Assembly seats in West Midnapore and East Midnapore combined.
Nandigram is the epicentre of TMC’s politics and Mamata’s masterstroke is certainly going to have its impact in all the 35 assembly seats in both the Midnapore.
There are 16 assembly seats in East Midnapore, while 19 seats in West Midnapore.
In 2016 assembly polls, TMC won 13 out of 16 seats in East Midnapore including Nandigram which was won by Suvendu Adhikari, while three seats (including Tamluk won by CPI’s Ashok Kumar Dinda, Panskura Purba and Haldia seats were won by CPIM’s Sheikh Ibrahim Ali and Tapasi Mondal respectively) went to Left Front.
In West Midnapore, out of 19 seats, TMC won 17 seats while one seat went to BJP (won by Dilip Ghosh from Kharagpur Sadar) while one seat ‘Sabang’ went to Congress (Manas Bhuniya won but he later joined the TMC).
Considering TMC’s clean sweep in the 2016 Assembly poll in West and East Midnapore and Mamata’s Friday decision to contest from Nandigram is certainly a clear and loud challenge before the ‘Adhikary family’ in their home turf by ‘Didi’.