Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress (TMC) to a massive victory in West Bengal, l however, lost the prestige battle in Nandigram to Suvendu Adhikari by 1,736 votes. “I accept the people’s verdict in Nandigram. It’s just a match. We won more than 221 seats in the state in a landslide victory. BJP has lost the election. They have played dirty tricks. We faced a horrible situation. We have faced the horror of the Election Commission. Ultimately, I will go to the constitutional bench,” said TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee on her party’s massive election victory.
Mamata Banerjee got 107937 votes while Suvendu Adhikari received 109673 votes. While win for TMC was a major one in the state the struggle for Nandigram has been argued to be more significant. In fact, this is not the first time that the Nandigram seat played a crucial role in laying the foundations of Mamata Banerjee’s political career. The TMC leader had left Bhabanipur, her two-term constituency, to fight from Nandigram
Why is Nandigram so integral to Mamata Banerjee’s Politics?
Firstly, in an intense election such as this one, Mamata Banerjee needed to go back to the foundations of her what led to her political prominence in the state. She made the call to challenge and go head-to-head with Suvendu Adhikari, the Member of Parliament from Nandigram, who was coincidentally once her prodigy. Suvendu Adhikari shifting his allegiances by joining the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) was considered as a ‘betrayal’, however his role in establishing TMC’s base in Nandigram over the years cannot be denied. Defeating her one prodigy in Nandigram was the only way for Mamata Banerjee to prove her political supremacy in the state of West Bengal.
Mamata Banerjee rose to political prominence following her opposition of the land acquisition policy of the left-wing regime between the years 2007-2008. One of the core epicenters of the party’s protest was Nandigram, with Singur being the other. It was Nandigram which gave her the image of Bengal’s ‘Agni Kanya’ (Fiery Daughter) and cemented her rise to political power. Suvendu who fancies himself as the ‘Bhumi Putra’, (Son of the soil) has accused Mamata Banerjee of leveraging Nandigram as her political ladder. It became pertinent for Mamata Banerjee to stake claims for being the face of the anti-land acquisition movement and prove her former prodigy and now political rival wrong.
Losing in Nandigram would have proven to be a major blow to Suvendu Adhikari’s political career and help loosen the opposition party’s grip. Mamata Banerjee had also hoped that her victory in Nandigram would coax several rebel leaders to come back to the TMC. Approximately 30% of Nandigram’s populace is said to be Muslim and Suvendu Adhikari’s taunt that Mamata Banerjee would be dependent on the 6,3000 Muslim votes struck her, prompting her to counter Suvendu in a bid to prove her secular claims, a political pitch her rival party intended to leverage for their campaign.