As the second phase of the hotly contested West Bengal Assembly elections is underway, BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari said that his former ally and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee will suffer a monumental loss in the key battleground constituency of Nandigram.
Soon after the polling began, the BJP leader cast his vote at the Nandanayak Bar Primary School around 7.30 AM. He was seen riding a bike to the school to cast his vote.
Adhikari said that he was ‘confident’ that Mamata Banerjee who is contesting against him from the Nandigram seat will lose in the polls.
“I have a very old relationship with the people of the area. I have a personal relationship with almost every person in Nandigram. Pretty confident that I will win the election,” he said.
Taking a dig at Mamata Banerjee administration’s alleged ‘pandering’ to the Muslim community, the BJP heavyweight also said that people of Bengal will vote for ‘development’ and not ‘appeasement politics’.
“Voting is underway, the situation is under control. People are hoping for development and casting their votes against appeasement,” the high-profile BJP leader said.
“Farmers are also dissatisfied with her. She siphoned off the money intended for the Amphan cyclone. Nobody in Bengal is happy with her,” he further added.
He said that he will try to visit all the booths in the constituency.
Further, the BJP leader claimed that the TMC has failed to depute agents in all the booths.
“It shows that Mamata Banerjee will not be able to win the elections,” he said.
Adhikari exercised his franchise for the first time in Nandigram after becoming a voter of the constituency ahead of the elections.
Once a trusted aide of Mamata Banerjee, Adhikari joined the BJP last year along with other Trinamool Congress rebels in the presence of party leader and Union Minister Amit Shah at a rally in Midnapore. In the 2016 assembly elections in the state, Suvendu Adhikari won the prized Nandigram seat for the TMC. Mamata Banerjee has vacated her existing seat of Bhowanipore to challenge her one-time “right-hand man”.
Interestingly, Adhikari played an influential role in the 2007 Nandigram movement that managed to deliver a definitive blow to the 34-year Left rule in Bengal and helped bring TMC to power in the state 10 years ago.
Nandigram falls in the Purba Medinipur district of West Bengal.
Meanwhile, Trinamool MP Derek O Brien said that ‘BJP and their mind games! Won’t work’, adding that ‘all attempts made by the CRPF to intimidate voters’ are not working.
“Trinamool booth agents ROCK SOLID in 354 booths in #Nandigram. We have registered complaints for 10 booths. All attempts by CRPF to influence/intimidate voters not working. People determined to have @MamataOfficial as their MLA,” he tweeted.
BJP and their mind games! Won’t work.
Trinamool booth agents ROCK SOLID in 354 booths in #Nandigram. We have registered complaints for 10 booths. All attempts by CRPF to influence/intimidate voters not working. People determined to have @MamataOfficial as their MLA pic.twitter.com/g8BU6dmMK0
— Derek O’Brien | ডেরেক ও’ব্রায়েন (@derekobrienmp) April 1, 2021
All 10,620 booths where polling is being held in this phase have been declared as sensitive by the Election Commission which has deployed around 651 companies of Central forces to provide security.
A total of 199 companies of the Central Armed Police Force has been deployed in Purba Medinipur, 210 companies in Paschim Medinipur, 170 in South 24 Parganas, and 72 in Bankura, the sources said.
TMC and BJP are contesting in all the 30 seats, while CPI(M) is in the fray in 15, and its alliance partners of Sanjukta Morcha, the Congress, and ISF are competing in 13 and two seats respectively.
Polling is being held amid strict Covid-19 guidelines on nine seats of Paschim Medinipur, eight in Bankura, four seats in South 24 Parganas, and nine in Purba Medinipur, the home ground of TMC turncoat and BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari.
(With inputs from PTI)