After the announcement of her party’s candidates list, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday held her first mega rally in East Midnapore’s Nandigram where the feisty West Bengal chief minister brought alive old memories of the Nandigram anti-land acquisition protests.
“Bhulte Pari Sobar Naam, Bhulbo Nako Nandigram (I can forget everyone’s name but I will never forget Nandigram)…When I had first visited Nandigram, there was no MLA. I looked at these faces and decided to contest from here. I had my home constituency and it was Bhawanipore. There was no problem and the effort would have been less for me. But still I chose Nandigram as I could see your love and enthusiasm,” Banerjee said.
Earlier, Banerjee had dubbed Nandigram as “lucky” for her. “I will contest from Nandigram. It is my lucky place,” Banerjee had declared at a rally in Nandigram in January this year. Quite naturally, the Nandigram assembly seat turned out to be the centre of attraction for voters in Bengal ahead of the high-octane political battle this year as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had also fielded Mamata’s ex-confidante Suvendu Adhikari in that seat.
Nandigram is a stronghold of newly-inducted BJP leader Adhikari who had been elected from the high-profile seat in 2016 and became a minister in the Mamata Banerjee-led state cabinet. Adhikari had joined the saffron brigade in December last year. The rebel Trinamool leader had claimed earlier he would defeat Banerjee by more than 50,000 votes in Nandigram.
At Tuesday’s rally, Banerjee criticised BJP’s campaign strategy as the saffron camp is calling her “an outsider” in Nandigram. “I am a daughter of Bengal. But now I have become an outsider? And people coming to Bengal from other states like Delhi and Rajasthan have suddenly become insiders?” the TMC chief said, without naming Suvendu Adhikari.
Banerjee also launched a scathing attack on the BJP on Hindutva grounds and chanted ‘Chandipath’ after that. The Chandipath is one of the most ancient and complete systems of mantra worship of the divine mother goddess in the Hindu tradition. It comes from chapters 81 to 93 of the Markandeya Purana that is known as one of the greatest spiritual treasures of Hindu spirituality.
“Don’t try to teach me what is Hindutva. I also come from a Hindu family…If you don’t want me in Nandigram, I shall go away. And if you think I am a daughter of Nandigram, I will file my nomination tomorrow to contest from Nandigram,” Banerjee said.