Nandigram (WB): Nandigram, the spearhead of Bengal's anti-land acquisition movement which had played a crucial role in ousting the Left Front regime, is geared up for the 5 May Assembly poll in which Trinamool Congress candidate Suvendu Adhikari is pitted against CPI's Abdul Kabir Sheikh, a joint Congress-Left alliance candidate.
Nandigram in East Midnapore district, about 125 km from Kolkata, was known as a stronghold of the communists and from where a CPI candidate was mostly returned except in the 1996 and 2011 Assembly poll.
But the agitation against forcible land acquisition by the previous Left Front government led by Mamata Banerjee, had changed the political equation in the area. This time too the TMC candidate has an edge over the Opposition candidate in the seat.
The LF government had planned to acquire 10,000 acres of land for a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) to be developed by an Indonesia-based company Salim Group for industrialisation.
The fierce agitation against forcible land acquisition had led to police firing in which 14 people had lost their lives in 2007.
BJP's Bijan Kumar Das besides SUCI(C) and Bharat Nirman Party candidates are also in the fray from this
constituency,which has a 230541-strong electorate of which a sizable chunk is Muslim population.
The TMC riding on the anti-land acquisition movement had not only won the Assembly by-poll in Nandigram but also swept the panchayat polls in East Midnapore district.
TMC had won all the 16 seats, including Nandigram, in East Midnapore district in the 2011 Assembly poll which paved the way for the ouster of the Left regime.
Both Nandigram and the East Midnapore district as a whole have turned into a TMC bastion with the party sweeping the 2013 Panchayat poll and the Lok Sabha poll in the following year.
Firoza Bibi of the TMC, who had lost her son during Nandigram agitation, won the bypoll in 2009 and was re-elected with a margin of near about 50,000 votes in 2011 Assembly election.
Suvendu Adhikari, sitting Lok Sabha MP, known for his mass contact in the district, said that people would vote in favour of the development ushered in by the Mamata Banerjee government in five years.
"First of all, the people will vote for the development model of Mamata Banerjee. The people of Nandigram
know that Suvendu Adhikari stands by them round the year. And secondly it is not true that action has not been taken against the culprits involved in Nandigram firing," Adhikari said.
Although Adhikari is confident about his victory, opposition CPI and Left said that the TMC after coming to
power did not fulfil the promises made by it.
"The TMC came to power by promising that action will be taken against the police officers who were involved in the Nandigram firing. But did they take any action? The answer is no. They have only pursued political vindictiveness and people will answer the vindictive politics by voting TMC out," Sheikh said.
The opposition Congress-Left alliance also said that the TMC won't be able to take away the entire minority votes in the constituency.
The opposition parties also allege that corruption is rampant in the TMC-run East Midnapore Zilla parishad and highlighted the Narada sting video in which Adhikari figured. Adhikari, however refuted the allegations of corruption and Narada sting and termed them as 'malicious propaganda' of opposition.
His opponent Sheikh said, "The people have seen the rampant corruption that TMC had indulged in last five years and now the person who is contesting election from this seat is seen in the sting video. Why will people vote for such a candidate," he asked.
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Updated Date: May 04, 2016 13:22:53 IST