Defending her decision to pick Nandigram instead of Bhawanipur to contest the upcoming Assembly polls, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the ‘love and support’ of people in her home constituency is always there but her nomination from Nandigram is a tribute to the farmers who sacrificed their lives during the anti-land acquisition movement in 2007.
Speaking to the media persons after filing the nomination in Haldia, Mamata said: “The farmers’ movement was built up from Nandigram and Singur. Many people were killed while many are still missing. My decision to contest from Nandigram should be considered as tribute to those who sacrificed their lives during farmers’ movement.”
In the context of not contesting from Bhawanipur, she said, “My feeling is very clear. If Bhawanipur is my home constituency, Nandigram holds a special place in my heart because of farmers’ movement. I was part of that movement. In Bhawanipur, people of all caste, creed and religion love me. I have the ‘mohabbat and pyar’ (love and affection) of Hindu and Muslim, both in Bengal. I am hopeful that people all across the state will extend their support towards TMC and I am sure we will emerge as winners once again to serve the people.”
While hitting out at Suvendu Adhikari, she said, “There is one leader in this area who is giving lectures. But the fact is he was nowhere in sight when 14 people were killed on March 14, 2007 and on November 10, 2007 when several were dragged out of their houses and were killed. They are missing till today. No one knows about their whereabouts”
Recalling her 26 days hunger strike in 2006 against the forceful acquisition of farmers’ land in Singur by the then Left Front government, she said, “I was on hunger strike for 26 days in Singur and when I came to Nandigram last time, the MLA (Suvendu Adhikari) from this constituency had resigned. He stepped down from his position. Then, I thought of paying tribute to those who sacrificed their lives through my nomination from Nandigram. This is like my eyes. I can forget my name but I cannot forget Nandigram.”
Confident of her victory from Nandigram, Mamata said, “The other name of Nandigram is ‘Sangram’. I am a street fighter and we are certainly winning this election with the blessings of my people in this State.”
Before filing her nomination, Mamata went to a Lord Shiva temple at Reyapara and held a road show from Manjushree More to Sub-Divisional Office in Haldia.
In a clever move, Mamata requested a local woman Sushma, belongs to a family of martyrs of Nandigram movement, to become her approver while filing her nomination. Not the least, she has also appointed another key leader of Nandigram movement Sheikh Sufiyan as her Chief Election Agent.
On January 18, Mamata played a masterstroke after she announced a contest from Nandigram in the election.
Nandigram is the prestige battle for Mamata 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.
Meanwhile, her rival Suvendu Adhikari held a road show in Nandigram today and inaugurated a new BJP party office. He will file his nomination from Nandigram on March 12.
While addressing a public rally, Suvendu, said, “Mamata Banerjee disrespected the family members of those who sacrificed their lives during the Nandigram movement. It is unfortunate that despite clearing the School Service Commission examination, six members of the martyr’s family are still waiting for their appointment letters. They were not given jobs and now she is giving lectures. People will give her a befitting reply from Nandigram.”
The Assembly elections in West Bengal will be held in eight phases between March 27 and April 29. The results will be declared on May 2.