Mamata Banerjee lands in ex-aide Suvendu’s fief for bigger political battle

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Mamata Banerjee with Suvendu and Sisir Adhikari at a rally in 2009 to observe the anniversary of the Nandigram...Read More

NANDIGRAM: “Ami katha dile, katha rakhi,” said

Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee

on Friday, pointing out that she would keep her word and contest from Nandigram. Mamata will leave for

Nandigram

on March 9 and file her nomination at Haldia SDO office at 3.30pm the next day.
The CM has again turned to Nandigram — where her battle against land acquisition had propelled her into office a decade ago — to fight a bigger battle to stop a religious binary from reshaping the political landscape there. The import of ‘

Jai Shri Ram

’ and ‘jihadi’ in political discourse are fraught with far-reaching implications in an assembly segment where nearly one-third of its 2.1 lakh voters are minorities.

Mamata’s decision to contest from Nandigram to offset

Suvendu Adhikari

’s defection was a strategic move, said political observers. Nandigram comprises Nandigram-1 and Nandigram-2 blocks. The epicentre of the anti-land acquisition movement was the minority-dominated Nandigram-1. The majority-dominated Nandigram-2 watched the flames from afar. The core

TMC

brass, led by Abu Sufian and Abu Taher, have homes in Nandigram-1. It is this divide Adhikari has been trying to play on. Nandigram needed a figure of stature to rise above this divide, said observers.
TMC is not taking any chances. Till Thursday night, at least two senior ministers were in Nandigram, taking stock of preparations. Party secretary Subrata Bakshi has been frequenting Nandigram. Purnendu Bose and MP Dola Sen will campaign there till the election on April 1. The party is also scouting for a home for Mamata there. “Nandigram has become synonymous with TMC. Suvendu held the baton there. Now that he has defected, party workers had become directionless. The CM’s decision is a bold move,” said a political analyst.
A senior Trinamool functionary said, “This also queers Suvendu’s claim that the Trinamool brass is Kolkata-centric, with little or no representation in the party’s core committees — and even the cabinet— from the districts.”

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