Kolkata: West Bengal's Nandigram is facing the prospect of witnessing what could potentially be the most consequential electoral battle of the year.
In an open challenge to her once confidante and ex-minister Suvendu Adhikari, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced that she will contest the upcoming state assembly elections from the Nandigram seat.
Meanwhile, reacting to the development, Adhikari said that the West Bengal Chief Minister only remembered Nandigram during the polls and vowed to defeat Mamata Banerjee by 50,000 votes.
"If I do not defeat her [Mamata] with half lakh votes in Nandigram I will quit politics", Suvendu Adhikari said in a rally, that conducted today from Tollygunge tram depot to Rashbehari at South Kolkata.
Referring to West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh, Suvendu said that the duo will win over all the seats of undivided Midnapore Constituency.
Throwing an open challenge towards the BJP, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, earlier this day had claimed that she will contest from the Nandigram constituency.
The declaration is being considered as Mamata's move to take her battle for West Bengal to the home turf of political heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari, who recently quit the TMC and joined the BJP.
That Banerjee chose Nandigram to make the big announcement reflects the TMC supremo's determination to take the BJP, which has launched a spirited campaign to unseat her after a decade-long stint in power, head on.
Banerjee is at present the MLA from Bhawanipore in south Kolkata.
"If possible, I will contest from both Bhawanipore and Nandigram. In case I am unable to contest from Bhawanipore, someone else will," she said.
Banerjee said she would never allow "a handful of people" to sell out Bengal to the BJP.
"Those who have left the party have my best wishes. Let them become president and vice president of the country. But don't you dare to sell out Bengal to the BJP. As long as I am alive, I won't allow them to sell out my state to the BJP," she said.
Nandigram came to the political spotlight in 2007 after 14 villagers were killed in a police firing for protesting against a proposed SEZ project, cleared by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front government .
Nandigram was the scene of massive public protest against "forcible" land acquisition by the then Left Front government for creation of a special economic zone.
The protracted and often bloody protests added to Banerjee and her party's political heft and catapulted the TMC to power in 2011, marking the end of the Left Front rule of 34 years.
Adhikari is considered the face face of the movement in Nandigram, some 130 km south-west of Kolkata.
(With inputs from agencies)