Nandigram: Mamata Banerjee or Suvendu Adhikari - Who will win the biggest battle of egos?

Nandigram: All eyes are on West Bengal Assembly polls, especially for the Nandigram constituency as there is the battle of egos between the ‘Bhoomiputra’ BJPs Suvendu Adhikari and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee.

Notably, on one side Suvendu and the entire Adhikari family is the son of Midnapore and also crème de la crème politicians, on the other hand, Mamata Banerjee rose to power and became the Chief Minister of West Bengal for her Nandigram protest for the farmers.

While TMC Supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee kept on claiming that the Adhikari family didn’t allow her to enter the Nandigram for years, the most influential strongman in the region Suvendu has resorted to has turned to Hindu-Muslim polarization.

When the BJP claims that this Nandigram will bring an end to the TMC supremo and her 10 years rule in West Bengal, the TMC claims that the Nandigram again will bring back the glory of the Mamata Banerjee run Trinamool Congress government.

Until 2016, the Bharatiya Janata Party didn’t have any presence in Nandigram. They made massive inroads in 2016 by bagging over 1.96 lakh votes in the Tamluk Lok Sabha by-poll under which Nandigram comes.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the BJP further strengthened its position, by getting over 5.34 lakh votes.

Despite winning 18 out of 42 Parliamentary seats in Lok Sabha, the BJP due to the influence of Suvendu could win only two Assembly Constituencies from Tamluk, Kanthi, and Ghatal Lok Sabha.

It can be recalled in 2018 rural polls, Adhikari ensured that the TMC was elected unopposed in 23 percent of gram panchayat ward-member seats, and that it had a strike rate of 79 percent in East Midnapore.

But now as Suvendu has defected to the saffron camp, he went all out to leave no stones unturned to mark BJP’s victory. Depending mostly on the Hindu votes, Suvendu clearly mentioned once that he is proud of his religion slamming Mamata’s comment that’s she ‘feels ashamed to call her from Hindu Brahmin family as she is for every religion’.

Incidentally, Nandigram has over 30 percent Muslim population, which has stood solidly behind the TMC over the last decade. Adhikari is eyeing the majority of the rest 70 percent.

As both the TMC and BJP leaders admit that Nandigram stands communally polarized, with Muslim population more in Nandigram block 1 than Nandirgram block 2, the TMC supremo had also resorted to ‘Soft Hindutwa’ politics.

While, poll analyst Biswanath Chakraborty claims that whether the BJP win or lose Nandigram but it has been successful in forcing the ruling TMC to follow its Hindutva line for votes, on the other hand the local people of Nandigram claims that whenever the people of Nandigram is in need Suvendu even when he was in the ruling Trinamool Congress was always there for their rescue.

It can be recalled that when the TMC supremo started her initial campaigning in Nandigram before getting injured on March 10, she visited several temples and also visited a Mazaar that was ridiculed by the saffron camp.

Mamata even challenged the BJP to debate with her on Hinduism and recited ‘Chandi Path’.

Slamming the TMC supremo for chanting the wrong Chandi Path, BJPs Suvendu claimed that Mamata is an adulterated Hindu who cannot wash away the sins of appeasement politics.

It is pertinent to mention that though a BJP member now, Suvendu’s father Sisir Adhikari was the two times MLA and even MP of the TMC and is also very influential in Midnapore. While Sisir was in Congress he even fought and won the battle against Left Front’s candidate in the early 80’s.

According to several poll analysts, Mamata Banerjee was popular in Nandigram which subsequently fell short after her alleged appeasement politics and also with the Adhikari family defecting to the BJP.

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