West Bengal

Mamata announces she will fight Bengal polls from Nandigram

Mamata Banerjee.   | Photo Credit: AFP

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said she would contest the 2021 Assembly polls from Nandigram in Purba Medinipur district.

Ms. Banerjee made the announcement at a public meeting at Nandigram, almost a month after Trinamool Congress (TMC) heavyweight and former MLA from the constituency Suvendu Adhikari quit the party and joined the BJP.

“What if I contest seat in Nandigram . How will that be…. I will ask Subrata Bakshi [State TMC president] that I want to contest from here and my name should be included from Nandigram,”she said.

The announcement assumes significance not only because Ms. Banerjee is all set to take on Mr. Adhikari in his fiefdom but also because Nandigram symbolises the party’s struggle against forcible land acquisition in the Left Front regime.

Ms. Banerjee said Nandigram was not only a place that represented struggle and movement but also a place “we offer our salutations to”.

“We are offering support to the protest against the farm bills because the way your land was being forcibly acquired, there is an attempt to forcibly take away the farm produce,” she stated.

Nandigram was also a place that brought luck to the Trinamool Congress, as in 2016 she announced the party’s first candidate from Nandigram, she noted.

Ms. Banerjee announced a monthly pension to the families of those killed in the police firing on March 14, 2007 and those who went missing in the subsequent violence.

May contest from two seats

The Chief Minister, who has been contesting from Bhawanipur in Kolkata, said she would not neglect Bhawanipur as its people might feel bad. “I will not neglect Bhawanipur. That place is also close to my heart,” she added.

According to party sources, Ms Banerjee is likely to contest from both Nandigram and Bhawanipur.

Suvendu takes the challenge

Later in the day, addressing party supporters in Kolkata, Suvendu Adhikari said the people of Nandigram would never forgive the Chief Minister because the police officers responsible for opening fire on villagers have been given extension and some have even joined the Trinamool Congress. “Whether I am nominated or someone else is made the candidate [from Nandigram], I want to assure that if I am unable to defeat her [Ms. Banerjee] by a margin of 50,000 votes. I will quit politics,” he stated.

The announcement by Ms. Banerjee evoked string reactions from the Opposition parties.

State BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya said Ms. Banerjee claimed that she would contest from all the 294 seats, which was a reflection of her desperation and that she had no faith on her party leaders.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA Sujan Chakrborty said that by making such announcements, she was making it evident that she had lost control and was on a sticky wicket.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 3:10:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/west-bengal-assembly/mamata-announces-she-will-fight-bengal-polls-from-nandigram/article33599786.ece

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