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regular-article-logo Monday, 22 April 2024

Fight ahead: Mamata to contest from Nandigram

Readers' Speak: over 5,600 birds recorded during count conducted at Santragachi Jheel

The Telegraph Published 21.01.21, 01:15 AM
Mamata Banerjee.

Mamata Banerjee. File picture

Sir — In a move that observers have described as a masterstroke, Mamata Banerjee, while addressing a rally at Nandigram, has announced that she will contest from that constituency against her bête noire, Suvendu Adhikari, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s biggest weapon against the ruling party, Trinamul Congress (“Mamata takes Nandi by the horns, to contest from game-changer soil”, Jan 19).

Some political analysts feel that this time Bhowanipore, the home turf of the chief minister, would not be the best seat for her to contest from as the demography of the area has changed. The BJP has also made considerable inroads into the Bhowanipore assembly segment. This has led to a decrease in TMC’s vote share in the area in recent polls. The BJP was reported to have pushed back TMC by 496 votes during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in ward number 73, which used to be the chief minister’s stronghold.

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Perhaps this explains Banerjee’s jitteriness and her subsequent decision to contest from multiple seats. Accepting the challenge Adhikari has asserted that he will leave politics if he cannot defeat her by 50,000 votes. Time and again, Adhikari has said that it was he who led the land movement in Nandigram as a son of the soil.

In East Midnapore, members of the Adhikari family have a massive support base. The district’s Kanthi and Tamluk Lok Sabha seats are represented by the former TMC legislator’s father, Sisir Adhikari, and his brother, Dibyendu Adhikari. Reportedly, no one from the Adhikari family was present at Banerjee’s rally.

It is evident that Banerjee won’t be able to give much time to Nandigram before the polls as she is, ultimately, the face of all 294 assembly seats. It is up to the local leaders to tackle everything. It would be a cut-throat battle for the Nandigram seat between the son of the soil and of the charismatic chief minister. It is too early to predict who will have the last laugh.

S.S. Paul,
Nadia

Sir — With her sudden announcement to contest from the Nandigram constituency for the upcoming assembly elections, Mamata Banerjee has turned the battle between the TMC and the BJP into a personal fight between herself and the former TMC leader, Suvendu Adhikari.

Winning Nandigram will be a tough job for Adhikari now, given Banerjee’s image and overall popularity with the masses. Nevertheless, Banerjee’s challenge is bound to force Adhikari to spend most of his time in his home district and Nandigram in order to ensure the BJP’s win in that crucial seat. This would mean that he will not be able to work for the saffron party in other districts as much as the BJP would like.

The Adhikari family has been the local custodians of East Midnapore for the TMC since the party was formed in 1998. Perhaps Banerjee’s decision will help the party strengthen its ties with the East Midnapore voters independent of the Adhikaris.

Khokan Das,
Calcutta

Sir — The manner in which Mamata Banerjee announced that she has decided to contest from Nandigram, besides Bhowanipore, was inspiring. It was crucial for Banerjee to attend the rally in Nandigram after the departure of Suvendu Adhikari. She has had the time to observe the impact of Adhikari’s defection to the BJP and has now stepped forward to help tide over the crisis that the party is facing.

It is natural for the BJP to feel threatened by Banerjee’s announcement and consider it to be a populist move. The chief minister’s presence in Nandigram is without a doubt an endeavour to regain some of TMC’s lost hold over the district and ensure rural votes for the elections.

Jayanta Datta,
Hooghly

Sir — With the assembly polls right around the corner, the political situation in Bengal is rapidly heating up. The chief minister’s decision to announce her candidature from Nandigram is certainly a bold move. Only time will tell if it bears fruit.

Ananya Chakraborty,
Calcutta

Ray of hope

Sir — It was wonderful to read that over 5,600 birds were recorded during a count conducted at Santragachi Jheel last week. The counting — it was done by a team of seven — found that the number of avians at the waterbody is higher than the last five years. Some of the species that were spotted include the Northern Pintail, Gadwall and Ferruginous Pochard. Over the last few years there has been a considerable drop in the number of migratory birds visiting Calcutta owing to increased air pollution. Unless there is a marked improvement in air quality, this number might just remain a fluke.

Meera Basu,
Calcutta

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