As the 2021 West Bengal Assembly elections draw closer, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) seems to be getting far more jittery about its prospects than the initially imagined. Today, a TMC delegation comprised of Derek O’ Brien and Kakoli Ghosh visited the Election Commission office in Kolkata regarding elections in Nandigram.
TMC leaders Derek O’Brien & Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar visit EC office in Kolkata.— ANI (@ANI) March 26, 2021
“Many people with criminal records are living in Nandigram, Bhagwanpur & Haripur aren’t voters of constituency. Voters are being scared & threatened. EC should ensure voters’ safety,” says Dastidar pic.twitter.com/ZpQUqURgEn
Meeting the Election Commission officials, the delegation of TMC complained about ‘people with criminal records’ living in Nandigram and supposedly threatening voters.
TMC that has a notorious reputation of indulging in political violence seems to have suddenly woken about to its perils. “Many people with criminal records are living in Nandigram, Bhagwanpur & Haripur aren’t voters of constituency. Voters are being scared & threatened. EC should ensure voters’ safety,” said Kakoli Dastidar.
In the letter, TMC claimed that they have “inputs” about BJP planning violence in Nandigram and areas like Khejuri ahead of the polls and on polling day. Further, the letter says that there is “less” deployment of CAPF in the area, perhaps deliberately to ‘favour BJP’.
The letter further urges that additional CAPF is deployed in Nandigram area. The letter also blames Suvendu Adhikari directly of apparently harbouring ‘armed criminals’.
Interestingly, this Hail Mary pass by the TMC could indicate that the party is getting nervous about their prospects in Nandigram.
Talking about the polls in West Bengal recently, Jan Ki Baat founder Pradeep Bhandari told OpIndia, “There is anti-TMC sentiment in Bengal because of corruption, political violence and appeasement that I observed with my team in our 294 constituency travel. If voting happens in a free and fair manner, BJP will form govt, and Mamata Banerjee may also lose Nandigram”.
In OpIndia’s ground report too, while we found that at that time Mamata Banerjee had the edge, Suvendu Adhikari seemed to be on an extremely strong footing in the area and could possibly win if certain issues were addressed.
Nandigram has turned into a prestige battle for Mamata Banerjee and Suvendu Adhikari who vowed to defeat Mamata Banerjee after quitting TMC to join BJP.
Nandigram is the epicenter of the political storm that propelled Mamata Banerjee to the Chief Minister’s office, helping her oust the Left from the corridors of power. During those days, Suvendu Adhikari was the architect of the Trinamool wave and Mamata’s right hand man.
Since then, a lot of bad blood has developed between the two which culminated with Adhikari’s resignation from the party. Adhikari subsequently joined the BJP. When Mamata Banerjee first announced her decision to contest the elections from the constituency, Adhikari had declared that he will quit politics if he does not defeat her by a margin of at least 50,000 votes.
After a decade, Nandigram again has the opportunity to herald the advent of a new era in Bengal politics. And this time, the battle for Nandigram is not just political, it is personal.