KOLKATA 18 JAN: Faced with a tough challenge from BJP ahead of this years Assembly election in West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee on Monday chose to go back to the land issue and announced that she would launch a nation- wide movement on the issue of new farmlaws passed by the Parliament from Tehkhali in Nandigram.
Along with that Banerjee also chose this occasion to declare that she would contest from Nandigram , which is considered to be the cradle of Mamata’s movement towards forceful land acquisition that catapulted her to power in 2011.Moreover, Mamata’s announcement came as a message to rebel leader Suvendu Adhikari that he would have to face a real challenge in Nandigram. It is worth mentioning that he had recently joined the saffron party from TMC. Though, in the 2011 assembly polls, Banerjee along with Adhikari had campaigned against land acquisition in Nandigram. Mainly, to oust the 34-year Left Front rule.
“I want to contest from Nandigram. And will not neglect Bhowanipore seat also. We will name a good candidate from there as well. But, I personally want to contest from Nandigram,” added Banerjee while addressing at Tehkhali in Nandigram. Further, she said, “I will come again and again as Nandigram is my lucky place. In the 2016 election, I announced my election from Nandigram. Today also, I came to Nandigram as my inner voice told me that I should go back to my root from where I started my fight.”
Mamata had swept into power and defeated the ruling Left with a landslide victory in the 2011 Assembly election.
“If I make a mistake, slap me but don’t go away from me. You just vote for TMC, I will work wholeheartedly to finish the work that is yet to be completed. I won’t let you down,” added Didi.
Suvendu Adhikari, who recently switched to BJP from Banerjee’s party, won the Nandigram seat as the TMC candidate in 2016. Traditionally, Banerjee has always contested from Bhowanipore
Later in the day, Suvendu Adhikari challenged Mamata Banerjee. He said, “I am challenging Banerjee that I will leave politics if I fail to defeat her by half lakh votes.”
According to Adhikari, there were only 30,000 people in Banerjee’s rally. Also, he will convene a rally tomorrow at Nandigram where he challenged Banerjee that there will be more people attending his rally.
Meanwhile, hitting out at Adhikari, Banerjee said, “In politics, three kinds of people are there. One type is greedy, another is selfish and unscrupulous and the other type is those who selflessly work for the state. Those who have amassed huge amounts of wealth by only indulging in scams have shifted to BJP to clean themselves. BJP is a washing machine which cleans those who have a tainted background.”
Furthermore, Banerjee lashed out at the BJP government in the Center. She said, “You take all the key posts like Prime Minister, Vice president or President of India. But, I am still alive and I won’t sell out Bengal. And that is my challenge.”
It may be worth mentioning here that not only Banerjee but Prime Minister Narendra Modi also fought from two seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Precisely, from Vadodara in Gujarat and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. In 2019 Lok Sabha election, even Rahul Gandhi fought from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh and Wayanad in Kerala. While Rahul lost in Amethi, he won at Wayanad.
Other Political Parties React
According to CPI(M) and Congress, Banerjee is wary of losing from her own constituency. So, she is contesting from Nandigram.
Sujan Chakraborty, CPI(M) leader questioned, “Is she conceding self–defeat? What is it indicative of? When she is the candidate in all the 294 constituencies, why did she announce her own candidature from two seats, leaving others? What is she afraid of? Now talking about industries in Singur and Nandigram, after destroying the state? Keep begging for mercy from the people. Even, then you will not be spared.”
According to Jayprakash Majumder, a BJP leader, Banerjee is frightened after her own party leaders are shifting allegiance to BJP. Mostly, citing frustration with the party. And that is the main reason why she announced that she will contest from Nandigram. Adhikari’s exit is a big blow to the party. And that is why TMC supremo herself has to contest from Nandigram.
Political Analysts Opine
According to political analysts, this is a big announcement by Banerjee. Especially, at a time when BJP is trying to portray a rift in the TMC. Mostly, between the rural and the urban leaders. There might be contradictions from other political parties that Banerjee is aware of losing from Bhowanipore. So, she is contesting from Nandigram. But, till now she has not confirmed her move.
Biswanath Chakraborty, a senior political analyst, said, ”This is not a new strategy that Banerjee is adopting by contesting from other constituencies apart from the home constituency. Many prominent leaders have contested from two seats. This is a significant political development. Especially, at a time when the Adhikari family is trying to corner TMC. Also, dared that TMC will be wiped out from Bengal.”