News Desk: With the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announcing their candidates’ names for the West Bengal assembly election, Nandigram in East Midnapore is gradually gearing up for one of the most high-pitched poll battles the state has witnessed in recent years.
On April 1, chief minister and TMC leader Mamata Banerjee will take on her protege-turned-adversary and BJP’s candidate Suvendu Adhikari, from Nandigram. Elections in West Bengal will be held in eight phases starting from March 27.
As a slew of VIPs and star campaigners are expected to flock to the area over the next few weeks, both the ruling TMC and its principal opponent, the BJP, have started building their own helipads in the area. On Sunday, a test launch was also done at the TMCs helipad.
While the BJP is coming up with a helipad at Tengua, the TMC is coming up with one in Bartala.
Both leaders are likely to file their nominations this week. While Banerjee has said that she will file her nomination on March 10, Adhikari is expected to file his nomination on March 12.
Adhikari, however, has been sharpening his attack against Banerjee and has challenged that he will defeat the TMC chief by at least 50,000 votes.
“I will defeat her. She was scared of contesting the polls from her existing seat Bhawanipore in Kolkata. And that’s why she has come to Nandigram. The people will reject her,” Adhikari had said earlier.
The TMC has hit back saying that Adhikari should get down to work instead of issuing threats.
“He has claimed this many times. He should start working now. Mamata has already been to Nandigram. He should also get down to work. We would like to see how things unfold,” said veteran TMC leader Subrata Mukherjee.
Meanwhile the TMC has started hunting for a house in Nandigram where Banerjee can stay and fight the election. Party leaders said that they have zeroed in on two houses. One belongs to a former defence personnel and another belongs to a local teacher.
Supporters of both the TMC and BJP have already started putting up banners and posters all across Nandigram. Writing wall graffiti in support of Banerjee and Adhikari had started even before the names were officially announced.
Nandigram, located around 100km south of Kolkata, is one of most prestigious assembly constituencies for the TMC because mass movements against land acquisition during 2006-08 paved the path for Banerjee’s political resurrection and propelled her to power in 2011.