West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee has announced that she will contest the upcoming Bengal Assembly elections from Nandigram.

The announcement has come at a time when rebel leader Suvendu Adhikari, who represented Nandigram, had crossed over to the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) last month at a mega rally in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

TMC supremo, addressing a public meeting in the town, said, “I will contest from Nandigram. Nandigram is my lucky place.”

The CM said that she could contest from two constituencies, including Bhowanipur in Kolkata.

She said, “If possible, I will contest from both Bhowanipore and Nandigram. In case I am unable to contest from Bhawanipore, someone else would contest.”

The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) had come to power in 2011 assembly elections on the campaign for farmers’ land in Nandigram. In 2007, 14 people were killed in clashes as protests erupted against an SEZ project in Nandigram which was cleared by the Left government. The TMC’s ‘Ma, Maati, Manush’ campaign had led to CM Mamata Banerjee’s landslide win defeating the Left government.

This move by the TMC chief is seen as a direct challenge to Suvendu Adhikari, who had led an exodus of Trinamool leaders to the BJP in December.

Suvendu Adhikari, who was a close aide to Mamata Banerjee, helped in the campaign for farmers’ land in Nandigram. Suvendu Adhikari grew from an MLA to the state transport minister. His father and brother Dibyendu, both are sitting MPs and another brother is the chief of the municipal corporation. They have a strong influence in East and West Midnapore districts.

The BJP saw this decision of CM Mamta Banerjee as a sign of nervousness. BJP social media head and Bengal in-charge Amit Malviya tweeted, “Mamata Banerjee’s decision to shift seat from Bhowanipore to Nandigram, for the first time in 10 years, indicates her political nervousness… Will she explain why IPS Satyajit Bandopadhyay, chargesheeted by CBI for firing on protesting farmers in Nandigram, was inducted in TMC?”