Seething after the recent exit of several Trinamool members led by the resignation of political heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari, CM Mamata Banerjee has decided to take her battle for West Bengal to the home turf of the former TMC stalwart.
In what could be seen as an open challenge to the now BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari, Mamata Banerjee declared that she would be contesting the upcoming Assembly polls from Nandigram town in Purba Medinipur district, West Bengal. Banerjee is at present the MLA from Bhawanipore in south Kolkata.
Mamata Banerjee declares she will contest upcoming polls from Nandigram
“I have always started my campaign for the assembly polls from Nandigram. It is a lucky place for me. So this time I feel that I should contest the assembly polls from here. I request our state party president Subrata Bakshi to approve my name from this seat,” Banerjee said, addressing a public meeting in the town for the first time in five years.
Bakshi, who was on the podium, promptly accepted the request.
Mamata Banerjee urged voters of Bhawanipore, her current constituency, to bear with her. It was important for her to contest Nandigram as her party had to fight on all 294 assembly seats of Bengal, she said. “Bhawanipore, please don’t feel sad. I will give you a good candidate,” the 66-year-old promised.
Later in her speech, she indicated that she may contest from both constituencies and said, “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.”
Suvendu Adhikari galvanised the people of Nandigram
For the uninitiated, Nandigram is the epicentre of the 2007 farmers’ movement that propelled Mamata Banerjee to power in the state 10 years ago. And interestingly, Suvendu Adhikari, who is considered as one of the main architects of the Nandigram movement, had helped Mamata Banerjee led TMC to overthrow the 34-year left rule in the state. In fact, over the years Adhikari emerged as one of the Trinamool’s top brass because of his clout in Nandigram.
The Chief Minister’s return to Nandigram is being seen as a direct challenge to Suvendu Adhikari, who had led an exodus of Trinamool leaders to the BJP over the past few weeks. Over 40 Trinamool Congress leaders joined Adhikari as he defected to the BJP in a mega rally in December in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
“If I can’t defeat her by half lakh votes, I will quit politics”: Suvendu Adhikari accepts the challenge thrown at him by Mamata Banerjee
Responding to Mamata Banerjee’s dramatic declaration, Suvendu Adhikari, who had registered an emphatic win from Nandigram seat in West Bengal elections 2016 as a TMC candidate, turned the match on by accepting Mamata Banerjee’s challenge. “If I can’t defeat her by half lakh votes, I will quit politics,” he declared in Kolkata.
Meanwhile, speaking on the development, Amit Malviya, the BJP’s social media head and in-charge of Bengal opined that the WB CM’s decision was clearly a sign of nervousness. “Mamata Banerjee’s decision to shift seat from Bhowanipore to Nandigram, for the first time in 10 years, indicates her political nervousness… Will she explain why IPS Satyajit Bandopadhyay, charge-sheeted by CBI for firing on protesting farmers in Nandigram, was inducted in TMC?”, tweeted the BJP leader.