Contest only from Nandigram: BJP challenges Mamata
Kolkata, Feb 21: The BJP on Saturday challenged West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to announce that she will contest the coming state election only from Nandigram if she is confident of her victory, prompting TMC to hit back and ask the saffron party to first name its chief ministerial candidate.
BJP national general secretary and Bengal minder Kailash Vijayvargiya in a tweet asked Banerjee to announce whether she will be fighting only from Nandigram.
The Trinamool Congress was quick to hit back saying it wondered why BJP is scared of declaring its Nandigram candidate or its chief ministerial face.
BJP has not announced its candidate for the seat and has said it will choose its chief minister only after coming to power in the state.
Banerjee had announced at a TMC rally at Nandigram in January that she will contest from the seat.
Nandigram had witnessed anti-farmland acquisition movement in 2007 in the aftermath of the then Left Front government's plan to acquire land for a special economic zone. TMC rode the crest of the movement and came to power in the state in 2011 ending the 34-year rule of the LF.
In 2016 the Nandigram seat in East Midnapore district was won by the then TMC heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari, who recently switched over to BJP and has publicly vowed to defeat Banerjee by 50,000 votes.
Vijayvargiya in his tweet said "Mamata Banerjee has announced to contest assembly elections from Nandigram. But, she did not say that she will contest from here only! If she is confident of her victory, make this announcement too! ... Otherwise, it will be understood that you do not trust Nandigram!".
BJP national secretary Anupam Hazra said if TMC did not announce it now, it will be understood that that Banerjee will fight the election from more seats.
"If Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is sure of her victory in Nandigram she should announce that she will contest only from the seat. This way she cannot deny her statement on the issue later. Or else it is not unknown what they (TMC) will do next," he posted on the micro blogging site.
The TMC shot back saying "Why is BJP scared of declaring its Nandigram candidate? Or even its CM face? Mamata Di (elder sister as she is called by TMC workers and leaders) is TMC's face for all the 294 seats.
"BJP should first announce whom they will field against Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram. We are all set to win big," it said in a statement.
After having a limited presence in the politically polarised state for decades, the BJP has emerged as TMC's main rival. It had won 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the 2019 general elections in West Bengal.
The saffron party leaders are upbeat that the party will be able to end Banerjee's 10-year rule in the state polls.
Election to the 294-member state Assembly is due in April-May next year.