Suvendu Adhikari on Tuesday challenged Mamata Banerjee to contest only in Nandigram a day after the Trinamool Congress supremo had declared that she would fight the upcoming Bengal polls from two constituencies.
In a remarkable turn of events on Monday, Banerjee on Monday announced that apart from her regular Bhowanipore seat, she would contest the 2021 West Bengal Assembly Election from Nandigram as well.
The decision was seen as her taking the fight for West Bengal to the political bastion of TMC-turned-BJP behemoth Adhikari. He was the Nandigram MLA till last month before defecting to the hindutva party.
Hitting back at his ex-party chief, Adhikari challenged her to contest only in Nandigram and not have the ‘safe cushion’ of Bhowanipore.
“We saw yesterday how politically confused she [Mamata Banerjee] is. Madam, you’ve to fight from only one seat. Start publishing name as ex-MLA in your letterhead,” he said.
That Banerjee chose Nandigram to make the big announcement reflects the TMC supremo’s determination to take the BJP, which has launched a spirited campaign to unseat her after a decade-long stint in power, head on.
Nandigram was the scene of massive public protest against “forcible” land acquisition by the then Left Front government for creation of a special economic zone.
The protracted and often bloody protests added to Banerjee and her party”s political heft and catapulted the TMC to power in 2011, marking the end of the Left Front rule of 34 years.
Adhikari is considered the face face of the movement in Nandigram, some 130 km south-west of Kolkata.
Meanwhile, the TMC-turncoat had already accepted the challenge on Monday and boasted that he would quit politics if he failed to beat Banerjee by a margin of at least 50,000 votes.
However, it remained unclear if Adhikari took the challenge head on of contesting the election against Banerjee by himself.
At his rally on Tuesday as well, he failed to clear the air if he would be the BJP candidate against the West Bengal Chief Minister at the East Midnapore seat.
“I am a BJP worker. Thus, I can’t tell you who’ll be the candidate. But madam can. Because I’ve already said TMC is a private limited company,” Adhikari said.