As per schedule West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on March 10 afternoon filed her nomination papers from Nandigram Assembly constituency. She left Nandigram to Haldia to file her nomination and then returned to the constituency.
“Nandigram is not a new place for me,” she said while explaining the reason to contest from here. She charged her opponent, Suvendhu Adhikari, once her close aide, with spreading communalism. She said her message is peace and love for all and takes along the people of all communities–Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians.
Suvendhu, who too was present in the constituency, inaugurated the BJP’s office on Wednesday.
He strongly criticised Mamata’s “I am a Hindu girl” remarks. He also slammed her for repeatedly quoting Hindu scriptures and visiting temples. Actually, Mamata’s plan was to fly to Kolkata after filing her nomination papers in Haldia, but she returned to Nandigram for overnight stay so that she could meet voters.
It needs to be mentioned that Nandigram has about one-third Muslim voters. A day earlier she had visited the graves of some of those killed in police firing on March 14, 2007 at the height of movement against land-acquisition. She once again visited temples and offered prayers on Wednesday to dispel the BJP’s allegation of minority appeasement.
Meanwhile, the central para-military forces have arrived in Nandigram, which goes to poll in the second phase on April 1.
The presence of such a large number of security forces three weeks before the election date suggests how seriously the Election Commission is taking the Nandigram battle.