The second phase of voting for the West Bengal Assembly is presently underway, with 171 candidates in the fray, and 30 seats up for grabs. Of these, Nandigram stands out for its high profile contestants. Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee is taking on her former top lieutenant, Suvendu Adhikari, with each side confidently asserting their victory.
But even as the voters cast their ballot, the debate is far from over. Even as Adhikari continues to hit out at his opponent and asserts that his new party will come to power, the TMC has cried foul. Party MP Derek O'Brien has now written to the Election Commission alleging booth capturing in Nandigram.
"BJP and their mind games! Won’t work. Trinamool booth agents rock solid in 354 booths in Nandigram. We have registered complaints for 10 booths. All attempts by CRPF to influence/intimidate voters not working. People determined to have Mamata Banerjee as their MLA," he said in a tweeted message.
Casting his vote from Nandigram on Thursday morning, Adhikari had contended that people were "hoping for development and casting their votes against appeasement". Hitting out at his ally-turned rival, the BJP leader contended that the youth was against her as they have been left to fend for themselves in terms of employment. "Farmers are also dissatisfied with her. She siphoned off the money intended for the Amphan cyclone. Nobody in Bengal is happy with her," he alleged.
In March, Suvendu had said that he was "200% confident" of his victory, and that he expected to win by over 50,000 votes. Today, without specifying numbers, he reiterated that he was pretty confident that he would emerge victorious.
While Banerjee has not extensively elaborated on her victory expectations, party members repeatedly assert a landslide victory for the TMC leader. In the meantime, Banerjee has sparked outrage online on Thursday by visiting a polling booth in Nandigram.