Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday came down heavily on BJP’s attempt to divide Hindu voters and said those playing divisive politics based on religion should be given a befitting reply in the upcoming assembly polls from Nandigram. Addressing a booth-level TMC workers in a veiled attack against TMC turncoat and BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari Banerjee said, “It is not that easy to divide people based on 70:30 (Hindu and Muslim vote share) ratio. For us, all are equal. We don’t differentiate people based on calculation and religion.”
She accused Adhikari of playing the Hindu-Muslim card and said that she told him not to teach Hindu dharma as she belonged from a Brahmin family, “I would like to tell him that I belong to a Brahmin family and he should not play the religion card with me. Don’t teach Hindu dharma to me," she said.
Banerjee, a day ahead of filing her nomination for the seat, said she decided to fight from Nandigram due to people’s response, “I had made up my mind that I will contest from either Singur or Nandigram this time," While chanting the ‘Chandipath’ the TMC supremo said, “If you don’t want me to file the nomination, I will not, but if you consider me your daughter then I will move ahead with filing my nomination."
Intensifying her attack on Adhikari, she accused him of abandoning the people of Nandigram. “When I came here last time, the MLA from this constituency had resigned. He stepped down from his position. He ditched the people here. The BJP wants to divide us in the name of Hindu-Muslim. I will not allow such dirty politics here in Bengal. Nandigram is like my eyes. I can forget my name but I cannot forget Nandigram,” she said.
She also slammed the BJP leader over his ‘Mamata is an outsider’ remark and said, “Look at his audacity. I am an outsider for some for whom those coming from Gujarat are insiders. I belong to rural Bengal and I have many fond memories of my village. I would like to remind him that people in Nandigram believe in truth and don’t like it if someone tries to divide them on religious lines. There was no division during the Nandigram movement because everybody contributed equally: through their ‘azan’ (Muslim prayer) and by blowing the conch shell.”
Revealing her roadmap for Nandigram, Banerjee announced plans to build a university in Nandigram and pledged to eradicate unemployment completely from the area. “I want to make a Nandigram a model of development and in future, I plan to make a thatched hut for myself. I will come here every three months. For a few months, I will be staying in a rented house in the Reyapara area in Nandigram,” she said.
In a scathing remark against the saffron party, Banerjee said, “people of Nandigram will make BJP ‘April fool’ on April 1", when polling will be held in the constituency. The statement came after BJP’s Adhikari said, “They (TMC) are claiming to have 30 per cent reserved votes. So tell us who those 30 per cent people are? And what about the remaining 70 per cent? They are with the BJP.”
Political experts said that Adhikari’s statement was an attempt to polarise the Hindu vote share in Nandigram.
On January 18, CM Banerjee played a masterstroke after she announced to contest from Nandigram and Bhowanipur seats in the upcoming Bengal assembly polls.
Addressing a huge public rally at Tekhali in Nandigram, she had announced her nomination. “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,” she said.
On March 7, BJP declared Suvendu Adhikari’s name against Mamata in Nandigram and he also challenged to defeat her with 50,000 votes.