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Mamata's win infuses new life into Nandigram

May 19, 2011 10:43 PM IST Politics Politics

Nandigram: After March 13, 2007, Nandigram became the epicenter of violence and death in Bengal's politics. It acted as a catalyst that finally resulted in the fall of the Left Front and the rise of Mamata Banerjee like a phoenix.

Today, people are celebrating in Nandigram, not just the victory of Mamata Banerjee, but the return of peace.

On the fateful day in 2007, 14 unarmed villagers, protesting against land acquisition, were gunned down by the state police. The killings of Nandigram also resulted in the death of innocent sporting activities, but today, children have come back to play cricket, for the first time in four years.

As Mamata Banerjee prepares to take oath as the next chief minister, Nandigram is preparing for normal life once more.

It's a change in lifestyle - a lifestyle, which was without such simple pleasures, a lifestyle, which has left a lasting imprint on the young minds.

"Since 2007, when the CPI(M) cadres started torturing us, people couldn't leave their homes in fear," said Shankar Adhikari, a cricket organiser in Nandigram.

"Today, with this change, we have finally got the courage to organise this cricket tournament," said Boto Krishna Das, a player.

Swadesh Das Adhikari was one of the men who galvanised villagers in Nandigram in East Midnapore district against land acquisition by Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government. He was, in his small way, responsible for the spectacular rise in Mamata Banerjee's political career.

"If our leader Mamata Banerjee wants to contest from here, people of Nandigram will be very proud," said Anti-Land Acquisition Committee leader Swadesh Das.

The CPI(M) flag no longer flutters in East Midnapore, where the Left Front has lost all 16 assembly seats despite the presence of CPI(M) strongman Lakshman Seth. Dubbed as a land-mafia elsewhere, for three decades, he had ensured that this district was a Left citadel.

"It is rather surprising that Left-ruled West Bengal for 34 years. It has happened no where in the world," said former CPI-M MP Lakshman Seth.

Speaking for the first time after the election debacle, at his sprawling 50 acre Haldia Institute of Technology, Seth was unrepentant.

Taking about the killings, Lakshman Seth said, "The police action was right in Nandigram."

But Nandigram has paid back in ballots and they wait anxiously for Mamata Banerjee, to repay their faith.