Banerjee, it may be mentioned, was catapulted to power on the back farmer movement and agitation against land acquisition in Nandigram and Singur.
Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo, Mamata Banerjee
returned to Nandigram
on Monday to announce her candidature from the East Medinipur assembly constituency. The move is in an attempt to take the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) head-on in what is increasingly looking to be her toughest political battle, from a place that in many ways had relaunched her a decade ago.
“I will contest from Nandigram.
It is my lucky place.” she said, addressing a rally in the town, while reassuring voters from her constituency, Bhowanipore (in South Kolkata), that she would either field a good candidate, or might even contest from both seats.
The move serves the twin purposes of snubbing the BJP
and showing solidarity with farmers.
Adhikari – who recently crossed over to the BJP
– had contested from Nandigram
in 2016. Among the many who switched sides, Adhikari is considered to be the TMC’s biggest loss, having considerable influence not just in his hometown, East Medinipur, but also Purulia, Bankura and West Medinipur.
Reacting to Banerjee’s announcement, BJP
President, Dilip Ghosh, said that Banerjee has decided to contest from Nandigram because she was looking for a “safe seat”. “But there are no safe seats for Trinamool in Bengal,” he added.
Adhikari, too, threw a challenge at Banerjee and said that if she is not defeated by a half lakh votes then he would quit politics.
Nandigram, it may be mentioned, has a dominant Muslim population and may not be an easy win for more reasons than one.
Political commentator, Sabysachi Basu Ray Chaudhury, dubbed Mamata Banerjee’s decision to fight the polls from Nandigram, a political masterstroke. “She has cornered Suvendu on the one hand and is also trying to connect with nationwide farmer agitation.”
The Trinamool Congress is opposed the Centre’s farm laws. Banerjee, it may be mentioned, was catapulted to power on the back farmer movement and agitation against land acquisition in Nandigram and Singur.
In 2007, Nandigram faced a crisis when a police firing in connection with land acquisition for a 14,000-acre chemical hub project by Indonesia’s Salim Group killed 14 people; the opposition had pegged it at 50.
The incident brought the Opposition and the intelligentsia together who raised the slogan “Paribartan Chai”, which resounded through Bengal. Coupled with the land agitation movement led by Banerjee in Singur that drove Tata Motors’ Nano project, it marked the beginning of the Left Front regime in West Bengal.
In 2011, Banerjee won an absolute majority and came to power in West Bengal.
The rest is history.