Will visit Sandeshkhali after Lok Sabha victory, says Mamata

Sandeshkhali has been on the boil since February this year, when allegations of land grab and sexual assault were raised at a section of local Trinamool Congress leadership, including Sheikh Shahjahan. The issue has emerged as key poll plank for the BJP while the Trinamool is trying to puncture holes in the saffron party’s claims

Updated - May 22, 2024 02:22 am IST

Published - May 21, 2024 10:38 pm IST - Kolkata:

TMC supremo and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee during a public meeting for Lok Sabha polls, in Bashirhat, on May 21, 2024.

TMC supremo and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee during a public meeting for Lok Sabha polls, in Bashirhat, on May 21, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is yet to visit the strife-torn Sandeshkhali, on Tuesday held an election meeting at Basirhat, about 35 km from the island. She said she will visit the island after Lok Sabha victory on the seat.

“As soon as our candidate Haji Nurul Islam wins Basirhat, my first visit will be to Sandeshkhali. I will go to meet the people there,” Ms. Banerjere said.

The remarks assume significance as the Chief Minister had not visited Sandeshkhali despite the region being on the boil for the past three months. Emphasising that she was heartbroken for the plight of women in Sandeshkhali, the Trinamool Congress chairperson said that the saffron party should not have played with the dignity of women in the trouble-torn area as its “conspiracy now stands exposed”.

“I am sorry for whatever has happened to the women of Sandeshkhali and the way they have been humiliated. I express my sadness from the core of my heart. Nobody should dare to play with the dignity of women,” Ms. Banerjee said addressing a rally at Basirhat.

Sandeshkhali falls under the Basirhat Lok Sabha seat in North 24 Parganas district and Chief Minister held a rally in support of her party candidate Haji Nurul Islam. She also expressed her unhappiness over the Prime Minister calling the BJP candidate Rekha Patra over the telephone.

“PM calls someone over the phone, holds a tutored conversation, and circulates that on television. But how many people does he actually talk to like this? It is under his tenure that the country saw maximum crime against women. BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh is the first when it comes to crime against scheduled caste and scheduled tribe,” Ms. Banerjee said.

Sandeshkhali has been on the boil since February 2024, when allegations of land grab and sexual assault were raised at a section of local Trinamool leadership, including Sheikh Shahjahan. The issue has emerged as key poll plank for the BJP while the Trinammol is trying to puncture holes in the saffron party’s claims by alleging that all was a conspiracy of the BJP on the basis of certain videos of a sting operation involving local BJP leaders.

The BJP has fielded villager from Sandeshkhali, Rekha Patra, who had raised voice against the alleged atrocities.

Meanwhile, the Calcutta High Court granted interim relief to Ms. Patra on Tuesday by imposing a stay on an FIR lodged against the BJP candidate.

The court said that no coercive action will be taken against her till June 14. Sandeshkhali will go to polls on June 1.

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