West Bengal Assembly elections | Battle for Nandigram turns personal

As the battle for Nandigram reaches fever pitch, the attacks levelled by leaders of both the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have turned personal. The constituency is going to polls on April 1.

TMC chief and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who held an eight-kilometre roadshow in Nandigram on a wheelchair on Monday, blamed BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari for the attack that left her injured.

“The (the attack) cannot happen without his involvement. Not a single person from Nandigram was involved — all were outsiders,” Ms Banerjee said. She was injured on March 10 while campaigning in Nandigram which has forced her to use a wheelchair.

Addressing the gathering after the roadshow from Reyapara Khudiram More to Thakurchowk, Ms. Banerjee said she had put her trust in a wrong person.

“I am to be blamed. I nurtured a cobra, fed it milk.. Now it is out to bite me,” she said. Without referring to Mr. Adhikari, Ms. Banerjee said she had made him Minister of different departments including Irrigation, Environment and Forests and Transport.

“What did I not give you,” she asked.

She also alleged that the BJP was attempting to incite communal riots in Nandigram and outsiders in police uniform were waiting in the Assembly constituency to create trouble on the day of polls.

However, Ms. Banerjee also exuded confidence and said the people of Nandigram are strong enough to resist any attempt to loot votes.

Former TMC leader and BJP candidate for Nandigram, Suvendu Adhikari who is contesting against Ms Banerjee, alleged that she only visits Nandigram during elections. In a tit-for-tat campaign, while the Chief Minister addressed four public meetings, Mr Adhikari went one up with five meetings.

Old wounds exposed

At a public meeting on Sunday, Ms Banerjee had accused both Mr Adhikari and his father (Sisir Adhikari) of allowing the police to enter Nandigram in 2007. She had accused the duo of allowing “police wearing slippers” to enter the village. 14 villagers were killed in police firing and subsequent violence when the police opened fire at farmers protesting against land acquisition on March 14, 2007.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) had reacted strongly to these developments with Ms Banerjee had accusing her former colleagues of helping the police. CPI(M) leadership said the conspiracy relating to Nandigram violence has been exposed.

The constituency is going to polls on April 1.

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