Kolkata, May 5: Polling in West Bengal is conducted on 25 seats in the final round of electoral battle. 9 assembly segments of Cooch Behar, along with 9 constituencies of East Midnapore are on the line. In the latter region, the seat of Nandigram, considered as the citadel of Trinamool revolution in West Bengal, would also be contested.Also Read - Explained | Why Centre And States Are At Stand-Off Over Proposed Changes In Civil Servants’ Deputation Rule?
The reigning chief minister of West Bengal, was so confident of her victory in Nandigram that she chose not to campaign in the region. The electorates of Nandigram consider Mamata as a devi, who got them rid of left-wing terror. It was the Nandigram movement which turned Mamata into an icon of West Bengal polity. For political experts, the Nandigram movement of 2007 resulted in the rise of TMC as the force which could not only reckon with the age-old CPM, but also uproot the communists after 34-years of their dominance. (ALSO READ: Trinamool Congress confident of victory in Nandigram) Also Read - TMC Releases Second List of Candidates For Goa Assembly Elections 2022
What was Nandigram movement all about? Also Read - Mamata Banerjee To Visit UP Next Month, Scheduled To Hold Virtual Press Meet with Akhilesh Yadav
In 2007, the then CPM government led by Buddhadeb Bhattacharya decided to turn the region of Nandigram into Special Economic Zone (SEZ). The village was assigned to be developed by Indonesia-based Salim Group. An approximate area of 10,000 acres of farming land was to be forcefully snatched from the villagers for setting up a chemical factory. On January 7, 2007, the villagers staged a massive demonstration by cutting all roads and railway lines connecting the village. The roads were digged up to make the village isolated from the rest of West Bengal.
On March 14, 2007, then CM Bhattacharya ordered a police raid at the village to bring normalcy in the region. At least 14 villagers were killed and more than 70 injured in the police firing. It was due to this use of force by the Left-front government to evict people’s land which earned the CPM huge amount of flak. The Left front was termed as betrayers of Marxism by political commentators of West Bengal. Although, CPM had always claimed that they strive for the rights of peasants and workers, the Nandigram incident exposed them as hypocrites and some even went ahead to term them as ‘red capitalists’.
How Mamata Banerjee rose to prominence out of Nandigram movement?
Mamata Banerjee, who was then struggling to make a mark for herself in West Bengal politics, rose to prominence by championing the cause of the peasants of Nandigram. It was in her protest rallies in the region, where she made the war cry of Maa Maati Manush (Mother, Motherland, and People). Her democratic agitation forced CPM to drop-out the SEZ plan and abort the strategy of evicting the lands of Nandigram peasants.
Why this sixth phase would be the icing on the cake for Mamata Banerjee?
As per the opinion polls which were making the rounds before the elections began, Mamata Banerjee s heading towards yet another victory in the state. Observers claim that no other politician could match the intensity which is seen in Mamata Banerjee’s rallies. In the words of TMC MP Derek O’Brien, the party has already crossed the majority figure, even if the verdict of sixth phase is not counted.
This round of electoral battle would be the icing on cake for TMC since there is a bleak chance that it would lose out any of the constituencies here. In 2011 assembly elections, TMC won all the 16 seats of East Midnapore and claimed 8 out of the 9 seats in Cooch in Behar. If the results of 2014 Lok Sabha elections is divided into assembly segments, Trinamool not only made a clean sweep in East Midnapore, but also wrested all the 9 vidhan sabha constituencies of Cooch Behar. If one takes cue from the results of past two electoral battles, Mamata Banerjee is likely to maintain her grip in the region. These 25 seats of Cooch Behar and East Midnapore, including the one of Nandigram would make her probable victory even more historic.
(Image source: Facebook/All India Trinamool Congress)