The main battlefield in West Bengal is Bhabanipur, but its beginnings are in Nandigram, 130 kilometres away. Mamata Banerjee lost this seat four months earlier, prompting her to return to her home seat of Bhabanipur to run in a by-election to retain her position as Chief Minister. After narrowly defeating the CM by 1,956 votes, what does Nandigram think of this high-voltage battle for the CM in Bhabanipur? News18 went to Nandigram to find out, and we were surprised to discover that the election atmosphere still exists in the town. When entering the constituency via Chandipur, the BJP and TMC banners are still prominently displayed, greeting commuters from all directions.
The anxiety is still present in the air, according to a local tea show proprietor in Nandigram. “A lot of people are changing sides now. We are poor people and don’t know what will happen to us. Will we get development or not? '' The man wonders, uncertain if he wants to be identified. This issue was present among others as well. The Bhabanipur poll is the topic of discussion in most tea shops and local "addas." People are disputing the victory margin in the Bhabanipur by-poll, with some suggesting that another upset is possible.
Suvendu Adhikari's office workers say they don't see the party colour when aiding people at the MLA help centre he established in Nandigram. “Whoever comes from whatever party, our MLA helps. We do it for all. TMC is now trying to take away our workers but we are fighting, ” they claim. Pralay Pal, the BJP's East Medinipur District Vice President, makes daily visits to this office, as per a phone tape revealed by the BJP during the polls, claiming that the CM had asked for his assistance during the polls. He was interviewed by News18.
“They broke my hand on 16th August Khela Hobe Dibash. This is what they are doing , I can’t go out to work because they will try to trap me in any case . We have won and we will fight our battle. Suvendu Adhikari is our leader. They are creating pressure on us but we will not succumb. Bhabanipur we will give her (the CM) a befitting fight. Nandigram will be repeated there too,” says Pralay.
The post where Banerjee's car was parked on March 10 in Birulia Bazar, where she was injured and had to campaign in a wheelchair, is now surrounded by TMC flags on all sides. “Party people have done this wrapping of their flag. I still feel bad the way she got hurt here. We feel bad. If she should have been our MLA then we would have got more benefit . We are small people but we hope in Bhabanipur she wins by the highest margin.” says the sweet shop owner who gave ice to Mamata that day.
One thing is apparent. Nandigram is also anticipating Bhabanipur's arrival. If the TMC is to be accepted, the by-poll result may provide some relief to Nandigram. On the other hand, the BJP hopes that Priyanka Tiberwal will be a big killer like Suvendu Adhikari, which is why Suvendu Adhikari is a key figure in the Bhabanipur election. It will ultimately be the people's mandate, but the outcome in Bhabanipur will undoubtedly have implications in Nandigram as well.
Source: News 18
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