There was high drama in West Bengal’s Nandigram on Friday when the state voted in the second phase of the assembly election. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had to be displaced by central paramilitary forces after having to stay confined for more than two hours at a polling booth amid an extremely tense face-off between BJP and Trinamool Congress supporters.
She dialled Governor Jagdeep Dhankar from one of the booths and told him that “anything might happen at any moment”. Banerjee hit out at the Home Minister, alleging he instructed the central forces and that only BJP is getting support from central forces.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing a rally in Bengal spoke of the incident in Nandigram, saying “This shows that Didi has accepted defeat and BJP will be forming a government in Bengal”. Whereas he ignored the fact that Mamata will easily win the seat she went to Nandigram to reduce Suvendu in his political stature and she has successfully done that.
Suvendu has to prove his worth to his new political masters. In politics, no one’s political career is destroyed forever but gets dumped everywhere. Nandigram and Khejuri, which are Adhikari’s strongholds but people loved him as a TMC candidate then, now feel betrayed. Mamata is contesting from Nandigram to crush Suvendu, she never loses any election just like Modi and she is as popular in Bengal as Modi in Gujrat.
Mamata Banerjee declared her candidature from Nandigram for many reasons. It was a deft move and is not out of her character to take the fight to the front door of her enemy. She sent two major messages. The first is that she is reclaiming her 2011 daughter the soil image when she fought for the rights of local farmers of Nandigram and Singur.
While land acquisition at Singur was for Tatas, the land acquisition at Nandigram was for a chemical hub for the Salim group of Indonesia. At Nandigram, 14 protesters were killed in police firing and she gave her clarion call of Ma, Mati and Manush. With this move, she reminded the voters of the past and wanted to touch an emotional chord.
Furthermore, she sent a direct message to BJP and Suvendu Adhikari, the local strongman that she would not shy away from a direct face-off. Another underlying reason could be that she wanted an exit from Bhawanipore in south Kolkata, where her position, as I understand, is tough. She won the seat with a 50000 votes margin first in 2011, later in 2016, the margin was halved and the vote count in the Lok Sabha elections showed that the margin is down to 3000. Nandigram gave Mamata an opportunity to honourably exit Bhawanipore where she is expecting to win over.
Mamata has never lost an election since the 1989 Lok Sabha polls. She is a popular mass leader. Her integrity is good. She would normally get a walkover. But 2021 is a different ball game. The party is embroiled in corruption, extortion, Saradha, Rose Valley, Narad, the emergence of nephew as a potential successor. There was a perception created against her by national media and social media.
This local strongman Suvendu Adhikari wanted payback. BJP is mounting a solid challenge and opinion polls show that it is within the striking range. Despite the statewide momentum is built up against her, she will neither lose Nandigram. People have immense faith in her, especially female voters.
Some voters were seen on Tv talking to media personals, “We will vote for Didi, she will win with a good majority. Suvendu Adhikari is dependent on Gujarati Leaders and lost all individuality. BJP is responsible for the Demonetization and privatization of banks and PSU which rendered many jobless. Further, BJP is against poor and senior citizens. It by introducing special trains for longer periods, deprived the senior citizens of their legitimate concessions. It’s also responsible for rising prices of Petrol, Gas and commodities. We the Voters of Bengal have decided to teach them a lesson.”
Let’s wait for 2nd May and see who teaches the lesson to whom.
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