Martyrs’ Day in Nandigram on Wednesday turned into a verbal slugfest between Trinamul’s Kunal Ghosh and the BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari, who helmed back-to-back events by their parties at the same spot, Shaheed Bedi.
Both events were held under the banner of the Bhumi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee, which pays tribute every year to those who died in the Nandigram anti-land-acquisition protests on March 14 and November 10, 2007.
Trinamul state general-secretary Ghosh tore into Nandigram MLA Suvendu’s credentials and slammed his alleged communal turn for switching from Trinamul to the BJP. “Where was Suvendu when the CPM came to grab land? He was sitting in an air-conditioned room in Contai,” sneered Ghosh at the gathering.
“You have been referring to Muslims as jihadi. Now, today, will you refer to the son of Feroza Biwi as a jihadi?” he asked, referring to Trinamul’s Panskura MLA whose son died in the 2007 agitation.
Ghosh also told people how Suvendu “backstabbed” Mamata who gave him “political birth”. “If there is a recount for the Nandigram Assembly poll, she will win by over 22,000 votes,” he added, referring to the result in the seat, now being challenged in court. Mamata had lost by a margin of 1,956 votes (0.85 per cent of the vote share) to Suvendu.
A few hours later, Suvendu silently strode on the same stage scattered Gangajal on the dais, apparently to “purify” the venue after Trinamul’s event.
“Pishi (Mamata) and bhaipo (Abhishek) sent a few of their servants here to appease the jihadis,” he said.
“But none of them knows the true history of Nandigram,” he claimed, speaking about his role during the
2007 agitation. He also referred to an incident during the
anti-land-grab agitation in which then BJP Union ministers L.K. Advani and Sushma Swaraj made their way to a seething Nandigram. “The BJP was responsible for
eventual peace here,” claimed Suvendu.
Later, minister and Trinamul’s Ramnagar MLA Akhil Giri accused Suvendu of usurping public land allotted for a healthcare centre when he chaired the Haldia Development Authority.