Hours after TMC chief Mamata Banerjee announced to contest upcoming polls from Nandigram, Suvendu Adhikari, the BJP political heavyweight from the region, attacked West Bengal chief minister for "remembering 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.
Banerjee sprang a surprise earlier in the day when she declared she will contest the assembly election from Nandigram, the seat held by political heavyweight Adhikari.
Nandigram was the scene of massive public protest against "forcible" land acquisition by the then Left Front government for creation of a special economic zone. The protracted and often bloody protests added to Banerjee and her party's political heft and catapulted the TMC to power in 2011, marking the end of the Left Front rule of 34 years.
Adhikari is considered the face face of the movement in Nandigram, some 130 km south-west of Kolkata. After switching over to the BJP, Adhikari has often accused Banerjee of having forgotten the people of the area who helped her gain power in the state.
Banerjee is at present the MLA from Bhawanipore in south Kolkata. "If possible, I will contest from both Bhawanipore and Nandigram. In case I am unable to contest from Bhawanipore, someone else will," she said.
Banerjee said she would never allow "a handful of people" to sell out Bengal to the BJP. "Those who have left the party have my best wishes.
Let them become president and vice president of the country.But don't you dare to sell out Bengal to the BJP. As long as I am alive, I won't allow them to sell out my state to the BJP," she said.
Assembly elections in the state are likely in April-May.