15 - 05 - 2021

Washing Powder BJP, Says Mamata Banerjee, Declares Will Contest Nandigram

Kolkata, Jan 18,2021: West Bengal   Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced today that she will contest the Bengal election from Nandigram, the epicenter of a farmers' movement that propelled her to power in the state 10 years ago. Challenge accepted, said her former right hand man Suvendu Adhikari, who represented Nandigram but crossed over to the BJP last month.

"I will contest from Nandigram. Nandigram is my lucky place," Mamata Banerjee said, addressing a public meeting in the town for the first time in five years.

She urged voters of Bhawanipore, her current constituency, to bear with her. It was important for her to contest Nandigram as her party had to fight on all 294 assembly seats of Bengal, she said.

"Bhawanipore, please don't feel sad. I will give you a good candidate," the 66-year-old promised. Later in her speech, she indicated that she may contest from both constituencies and said, "Nandigram is my big sister, Bhawanipore is my younger sister... I will fight from both if possible. In case I am unable to contest from Bhawanipore, someone else would contest."

Shortly afterwards, it was BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari's turn to match the dramatic announcement with one of his own. "If I can't defeat her by half lakh votes, I will quit politics," he declared in Kolkata.

Mamata Banerjee's campaign to protect farmers' land from a proposed economic zone project in Nandiram powered her campaign for the 2011 assembly election, which she won by a landslide, dislodging the decades-old Left Front government.

In 2007, 14 were killed in clashes in Nandigram between protesting farmers and the police. In the subsequent election, Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress crafted the "Ma, Maati, Manush" campaign around that incident.

The Chief Minister's return to Nandigram is a direct challenge to Suvendu Adhikari, who has led an exodus of Trinamool leaders to the BJP over the past few weeks. Over 40 Trinamool Congress leaders joined Mr Adhikari as he defected to the BJP in a mega rally in December in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah. (NDTV)