KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s decision to contest from Nandigram has forced the state BJP to recalibrate its battle strategy for East Midnapore district. The party plans to bring heavyweights like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath to address rallies in the district.
Sources in the BJP said Modi will address a rally on March 20 at Contain, around 50 km from Nandigram, the seat where Mamata and her former lieutenant and BJP’s star candidate Suvendu Adhikari are locked in a face-off. “We are trying to arrange a rally at the same venue in Nandigram’s Tekhali, from where Mamata had announced her candidature, which Adityanath will address,” said a BJP leader.
Shah is likely to visit Bengal on March 15 and March 19. “We are in the process to organise a rally at a place located in the heart of Nandigram which the home minister will address,” said the BJP leader.The visit being planned by the BJP brass to Nandigram and East Midnapore is aimed at defeating Mamata. “The contest between her and Adhikari has become a prestige issue for the Bengal CM and the Union home minister. It was Shah who gave a nod to the proposal of fielding Suvendu against Mamata,” said a state BJP leader.
It was Mamata’s participation in the 2007 peasant movement in Nandigram-Singur against land acquisition for Tata Nano project by the then Left government that had catapulted her into power in 2011. Sources in the saffron camp said the party is showcasing its Hindutva rhetoric aggressively in Nandigram, eyeing to consolidate Hindu votes.
Minorities form around 40 per cent of the total electorates in the constituency. “In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP had failed to concentrate the non-Muslim votes in its favour. The constituency has around 2.5 lakh voters. The TMC had secured a lead of more than 68,000 votes in the general election despite a strong wave of nationalism across the country.
This means a majority of Hindu voters did not welcome our candidate in 2019. This is why we need heavyweights to polarise Hindu electorate,” said a BJP leader. TMC functionaries have already been camping in Nandigram. They have rented a two-storey house for Mamata and four others and 80-odd party leaders and workers who will be playing the role of architects to secure the CM’s victory.
of Nandigram’s population is Muslim, which has stood solidly behind the TMC over the last decade. Suvendu Adhikari is eyeing the majority of the rest 70%
Number of security personnel, including the elite SSW, IB, responsible for guarding West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee
CBI, ED summon TMC leaders
The CBI and the ED on Friday issued summons to Trinamool Congress leaders Partha Chatterjee and Madan Mitra respectively in connection with separate ponzi scam cases. The ED also summoned ex-TMC Rajya Sabha members businessman Swapan Sadhan Bose and journalist Ahmed Hassan Imran in connection with a case.
‘BJP, Cong deceived Assam tea workers’
A students’ body in Assam launched a campaign on Friday to remind tea workers how they were deceived by various political parties. Called ‘political awareness meetings’, these gatherings were held by the All Assam Tea Tribe Students’ Association (AATTSA). The focus of discussions with the workers is on their daily wage.