West Bengal polls: CM Mamata Banerjee will contest from Nandigram
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced that she will be contesting the upcoming Assembly polls from Nandigram, the same place from where her party's turncoat Suvendhu Adhikari won in 2016. Adhikari joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in December. The matriarch of Trinamool Congress (TMC), who represents the Bhawanipore constituency currently, said Nandigram is close to her heart. Here are more details.
Addressing a massive gathering at Tekhali in Nandigram, Banerjee said she can forget even her name but not this place. "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. She assured citizens of the Bhawanipore constituency that she will field a worthy candidate from there.
"Nandigram is my big sister, Bhawanipore is my younger sister...I will fight from both if possible. In case I am unable to contest from Bhawanipore, someone else would contest," she went on.
Taking a dig at those who left TMC for BJP, Banerjee said they switched sides to "protect the money they looted." "Those who have left the party, have my best wishes. Let them become president and vice president of the country. As long as I am alive, I won't allow them to sell out my state to the BJP," she asserted.
Nandigram, along with Singur, had helped TMC end the 34-year-long Left rule in the state. Banerjee's party had orchestrated protests in the areas against industrialization. In 2007, 14 had died after farmers clashed with police in Nandigram, prompting TMC to create the 'Ma, Mati, Manush' campaign. The results were quick as in the 2011 polls, the public rewarded TMC and Banerjee became the CM.
It is pertinent to note that TMC's rise in Nandigram wouldn't have been this successful without Adhikari since he coordinated the agitation. With time, his influence and stature grew both within TMC and in the state. He was also given a seat in the Cabinet — he became the state transport minister. Reportedly, his family also enjoys clout in East and West Midnapore districts.
Much to TMC's misfortune, the mass leader who once worked at the grassroots level has now joined BJP. Union Home Minister Amit Shah who welcomed Adhikari said people were leaving Banerjee's party because of misrule, corruption, and nepotism. "Didi, this is just the beginning. By the time elections come, you will be left all alone," he had said in a rally in Midnapore.
Undoubtedly, the Nandigram battle will garner attention in the upcoming polls. Reacting to the development, BJP's Amit Malviya, who was given a top post in Bengal, tweeted, "Mamata Banerjee's decision to shift seat from Bhawanipore to Nandigram, for the first time in 10 years, indicates her political nervousness." He asked why TMC welcomed the IPS officer who was charge-sheeted for firing on Nandigram farmers.
The BJP had pushed back the TMC (by 496 votes) in Mamata Banerjee’s own ward (KMC Ward No 73) under Bhowanipore Assembly constituency during 2019 Lok Sabha elections. That explains Pishi’s jitteriness and decision to change her seat...— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) January 18, 2021
If the CM is not sure, can her party win?