It’s Suvendu Adhikari vs Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram
Kolkata: The party’s general secretary also announced the names of 56 candidates for the assembly elections out of which 6 candidates were given to women.
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Suvendu Adhikari will contest against chief minister Mamata Banerjee from his home turf of Nandigram in the West Bengal assembly elections to be held later this month, setting the stage for one of the most-watched electoral battles in the state, the BJP announced on Saturday. Adhikari’s name figured in the opposition party’s first list of 57 candidates for the March-April assembly elections, out of which six are women and one seat has been given to the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU).
The BJP’s candidates’ list came a day after the Trinamool Congress chief declared the names of those who will contest in the eight-phase polls in the state from March 27.
Banerjee had on Friday announced that she will also be contesting from Nandigram. Adhikari, who joined the BJP last year, had said that he will leave no stone unturned to defeat the Trinamool Congress government in the state. Adhikari also said that if he does not defeat Banerjee by more than 50,000 votes then he would quit politics.
“Write this down and mention the date and time. I will leave politics if I cannot defeat her by half lakh (50,000) votes,” Adhikari had during a rally in south Kolkata. He had also asked the Bengal chief minister to prepare a letterhead with ‘former chief minister’ written on it.
The battle for Nandigram is important as it was vital for the rise of the Trinamool Congress a decade earlier and Suvendu Adhikari and his brother Soumendu Adhikari had played a huge role in the anti-land acquisition movement based on which the TMC defeated the Left Front government in 2011.
Banerjee and Suvendu Adhikari in 2007 had spearheaded the anti-land acquisition which catapulted the Trinamool Congress to political prominence and after which it won the panchayat elections in 2008, Lok Sabha elections in 2009, municipal polls in 2010 and recorded a huge victory ousting the Left Front government from power in the 2011 legislative assembly elections. Adhikari was vital for that win because he and his family were instrumental in expanding TMC’s base in West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura which were formerly Left Front’s bastions.
"I have recently been to Durgapur and I have seen that people are seeking a change. They want to break free from the tyranny of the current government," the BJP's general secretary Arun Singh said on Saturday while releasing the candidates' list.
The BJP’s list also featured former Bengal cricketer Ashok Dinda and former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Bharati Ghosh. Elections in the eastern state will be held in eight phases from March 27. The votes will be counted on May 2.
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