At a time when Mamata’s safe seat of Bhowanipore is looking increasingly dicey for the West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata’s decision to contest from Suvendu Adhikari’s seat of Nandigram has given an opportunity for the BJP to corner Mamata and win the perception battle. The BJP is now demanding that Mamata states that she will only contest from the seat of Nandigram and not any other seat with the TMC being non-committal on this issue.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee sensing a dissuaded TMC workers post the exit of party stalwart Suvendu Adhikari, chose to throw a challenge to Adhikari by airing her intentions to contest from the seat of Nandigram of which Adhikari is the incumbent MLA. Mamata hoped that this move would enthuse the TMC workers but it seems that it is turning out to be a PR disaster as the BJP pushes to make Mamata state that she will only be contesting from Nandigram and not contest on two seats by contesting from her traditional seat of Bhowanipore.
“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!,” tweeted senior BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya.
Whereas, BJP national secretary Anupam Hazra took to Twitter to say, “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.”
It is pertinent to note that Suvendu Adhikari has vowed to defeat Mamata Banerjee by at least 50,000 votes from Nandigram or quit politics.
The Trinamool Congress retorted to BJP’s challenge by saying, “Why is BJP scared of declaring its Nandigram candidate? Or even its CM face? Mamata Di is TMC’s face for all the 294 seats.”
The party statement added, “BJP should first announce whom they will field against Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram. We are all set to win big.”
Of late, the BJP has followed a strategy of not announcing a CM candidate before the elections in the state where it is the challenger party and bank on the Modi factor as seen in the case of Uttar Pradesh and Tripura.
Mamata knows the perils of contesting from Nandigram alone as there’s every chance that she will lose handsomely on Adhikari’s home turf which will be a major loss of face for her and a potential career ending loss. Hence, she’s being non-committal and will likely contest from two seats: Bhowanipore and Nandigram to avoid any embarrassment.