BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari has tagged West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as an “outsider” on her move to contest the state election from Nandigram, from where he is an MLA. Mr Adhikari, once seen as a lieutenant to Ms Banerjee, quit the Trinamool Congress before the election dates were announced and joined BJP.
“Honourable chief minister will contest from Nandigram as per the candidate list, very good, it’s welcomed. People of Nandigram raise your voice, ‘we want the son of Midnapore, not outsiders.’ We will see you on the battlefield. On 2nd May, you will lose and leave,” Mr Adhikari said today, news agency ANI reported.
The BJP leader plays on the fact that he’s the MLA from Nandigram and hence, a son of Midnapore. Nandigram falls under East Midnapore district.
Mr Adhikari’s “outsider” swipe at the Chief Minister is also a counterattack at her using the same line of attack that Ms Banerjee often deploys, that of calling the BJP in Bengal an “outsider” party.
Mr Adhikari, 50, led the Trinamool Congress’s struggle over farm land versus a chemical hub at Nandigram in 2007 and captured it from the Left. Nandigram, and then Singur, catapulted Ms Banerjee’s party to power in West Bengal in 2011.
Ms Banerjee had earlier said she may contest two seats – Nandigram, and Bhowanipore in Kolkata, from where she won in 2016.
Today, while announcing she would fight from Nandigram, she made it clear she would not contest from Bhowanipore. But she did hint of contesting a second seat, telling Aroop Biswas, the candidate from Tollygunge, that she may contest from there as well.
Trinamool Congress leaders claimed it was said in jest, though BJP said it was a sign of Ms Banerjee’s nervousness.
“I will contest from Nandigram as I stick to my words. From Bhowanipore constituency, Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay will be contesting in the upcoming assembly elections,” said the Bengal Chief Minister, announcing candidates for the election starting March 27.
The Bengal election will take place over eight rounds and 33 days in a marathon schedule that the Trinamool alleges was stretched on directions from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other top BJP leaders.