Nandigram: Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday, addressing a public meeting in the town for the first time in five years, announced that Nandigram, the epicenter of a farmers’ movement that catapulted her to power in the state 10 years ago, will be her battle ground for the upcoming Bengal election.
“I will contest from Nandigram. Nandigram is my lucky place,” the 66-year-old leader said.
The announcement is significant as Nandigram is the constituency of her former closed aide, Suvendu Adhikari, who crossed over to the BJP last month. To note, Mamata had contested last elections from Bhawanipore in Kolkata.
“Bhawanipore, please don’t feel bad. I will give you a good candidate,” Mamata said. Later in her speech, she indicated that she may contest from two constituencies and said, “Nandigram is my big sister, Bhawaniporeis my younger sister…I will fight from both if possible. In case I am unable to contest from Bhawanipore, someone else would contest.”
In 2007, Nandigram farmers’ protest had claimed 14 lives, where clashes between protesting farmers and the police had taken a violent turn. In the subsequent assembly election of 2011, Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress crafted the “Ma, Maati, Manush” campaign around that incident to protect farmers’ land from the proposed economic zone project in Nandiram and registered a landslide victory.