West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee
PTI Photo

Kolkata: Trust a gritty Mamata to take the battle into the enemy camp. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday declared that she would contest the upcoming assembly polls from Nandigram constituency, the stronghold of her former close aide Suvendu Adhikari, who had defected to the BJP last month.

Addressing a public meeting at Nandigram, the TMC supremo, without naming anyone, challenged the BJP to defeat her from that constituency. “I know Nandigram more than anybody else. During the violence by the former Left Front government, I visited the place and stood by the common people here. I can forget my name but cannot forget Nandigram. It is a holy place. Let the opposition defeat me from this constituency,” declared Mamata, adding that the BJP is a 'washing powder' party.

Nandigram, the epicenter of a farmers’ movement, had pushed the TMC supremo centrestage in the state 10 years ago. However, she may also fight from Bhawanipore in South Kolkata, which she is representing in the Assembly.

“I may fight from both seats. I am requesting party president Subrata Bakshi to consider my candidature from both Bhawanipore and Nandigram -- the elder and the younger sister,'' said the chief minister

According to poll analysts, Mamata’s decision to fight from Nandigram will serve to galvanise the cadres of the party; the decision will also deliver a psychological blow to the BJP, the challengers in West Bengal.

Countering the chief minister, turncoat Suvendu Adhikari said that the TMC had managed to gather only 30,000 people from seven districts for the rally and that he will be giving a befitting answer at his rally at Nandigram on Tuesday. He also attacked Mamata for "remembering Nandigram only during polls".

"Mamata has remembered Nandigram only during elections. What has she done for Nandigram? This place will never forgive her. You, your corrupt nephew and your 'private limited' concern can make all kind of announcements. But you will lose Nandigram by over half a lakh votes, or else I will quit politics,'' Adhikari said at his rally.

Nandigram was the face of a massive public protest against "forcible" land acquisition by the then Left Front government for creation of a special economic zone. The protests that ensued had hoisted the TMC to power in 2011, marking the end of Left Front's rule of 34 years.

However, West Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury claimed that fearing defeat from Bhawanipore constituency, the TMC Supremo Mamata Banerjee had decided to contest from Nandigram.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal