All eyes are on the Nandigram Assembly seat, where TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee’s fierce battle with the BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari is underway in the second phase of the eight-phase West Bengal assembly election today. The contest has become a battle of prestige for both the ruling TMC and BJP which is eyeing to write history by denying Mamata a third stint. While the people of Nandigram have been busy exercising their franchise, a lot has happened in the constituency on the polling day.
Earlier in the day, the convoy of BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari was attacked allegedly by Trinamool Congress workers in Nandigram. Videos emerged showing unidentified men pelting stones on Adhikari’s car. The windshield of his vehicle was damaged. Adhikari, however, escaped unhurt.
In a separate incident reported from Mamata’s constituency on Thursday, the supporters of the Bhartiya Janata Party and the Trinamool Congress party clashed with each other after Mamata Banerjee reached a polling booth at Gokul Nagar in Nandigram. Hundreds of people came out shouting ‘Jai Shree Ram’ after Banerjee reached the booth in Nandigram. They were protesting the presence of Banerjee near the polling booth in Gokul Nagar. They demanded that the West Bengal CM should leave.
Mamata speaks to the governor
Mamata Banerjee, for whom the Nandigram contest has become more of a battle of prestige, accused ‘goons from other states’ for the poll violence in Nandigram. She also called Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar to complain against the violence urging him to control the situation in the state.
#WATCH: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee speaks to Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar over the phone at a polling booth in Nandigram. She says, “…They didn’t allow the local people to cast their vote. From morning I am campaigning…Now I am appealing to you, please see…” pic.twitter.com/mjsNQx38BB— ANI (@ANI) April 1, 2021
In a video shared by ANI, the TMC supremo speaks to Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar over the phone at a polling booth in Nandigram. She says, “…They didn’t allow the local people to cast their vote. From morning I am campaigning…Now I am appealing to you, please see…”
Speaking to the media, the West Bengal CM said that she has complained to the Election Commission and the Home Minister about the ill-treatment being meted out at her and woman journalists at rallies by “BJP goondas”. Accusing EC of working at the behest of HM Amit Shah, Mamata Banerjee said “I have seen so many elections but have not seen such a badly conducted election so far”.
#ElectionsWithNDTV | “I want elections to be free and fair”: Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee #WestBengalPolls pic.twitter.com/UVkdbJZ45k— NDTV (@ndtv) April 1, 2021
Locals complain that TMC goons are not allowing them to vote
Meanwhile, Hindi news channel ABP News has shared a video where locals in the Gokul Nagar area in Nandigram were seen creating a ruckus after Mamata Banerjee reached the polling booth.
A local lady, while speaking to ABP News, alleged that the Muslims, whom Mamata Banerjee has brought from outside, are not allowing the local Bengalis to cast their votes. “Eta amader Bangali para, Muslim naye” (this is our Bengali area, does not belong to Muslims), an old lady is heard telling the journalist.
बड़ी ख़बर-नंदीग्राम में गौकुलनगर इलाक़े में ममता बैनर्जी पोलिंग बूथ के भीतर बैठ गयी हैं, इसके बाद गाँव में हंगामा होने लगा, मतदाताओं ने आरोप लगाया कि इलाक़े के मुस्लिम, हिंदुओं को वोट नहीं करने दे रहे हैं, गोकुल नगर इलाक़े में ही नंदीग्राम आंदोलन के समय किसानो पर गोली चली थी. pic.twitter.com/xkdgc58bG0— Vikas Bhadauria (ABP News) (@vikasbha) April 1, 2021
Another woman standing beside the old lady alleges that the TMC goons held the latter captive while she went to feed the cows and did not allow her to vote.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission has imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in entire Nandigram Assembly constituency. The poll body has deployed 22 companies of central armed police force in the constituency, which has a total of 355 polling booths.
A senior official of the poll body told the media that Nandigram is a sensitive constituency with high profile candidates like Mamata Banerjee and Suvendu Adhikari. The prohibitory orders will be valid till April 2 midnight.