Politics Heats Up In West Bengal

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There are signs of lotus slowly but surely sprouting in the eastern state.  This is no, doubt, going to be a tough battle for both BJP and TMC sides; which have lined up stars in their candidate lists. Significantly, these stars are drawn not just from moviedom but also other walks of life including media.

It is without any doubt TMC versus BJP in West Bengal and the poll campaign is heating up in the wake of the alleged attack on TMC supremo and chief minister, Mamta Bannerjee. Though she is out of the hospital and is likely to campaign for sometime in a wheel chair the incident in Nandigram has given the TMC an opportunity to launch an attack on BJP and generate sympathy in its favour.

The battle in Nandigram is going to be the piece de resistance of this election. Her disciple-turned-foe Suvendu Adhikari has also filed his nomination from the constituency in style followed by a rally that was addressed also by union ministers, Dharmendra Pradhan and Smriti Irani.

The Trinamool has called the Nandigram incident “a conspiracy for the rousing response she got from the people of Bengal”. Party MP Derek O’Brien has demanded that people responsible for the “heinous incident” must be brought to book. His outburst followed Congress veteran Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury statement that Mamta was trying to gain sympathy by making excuses like an attack on her.

However, Congress leaders like Abhijit Mukherjee had different views.  “I wish Didi a speedy recovery! Those behind this must not be spared. Didi, You have tough battle to fight ahead and You will surely emerge victorious! My very good wishes for You & again wish you a speedy recovery.” he tweeted.

The BJP says that Nandigram is angry with Mamata Banerjee. The incident, according to party leaders, was at best a chance accident and a minor one with no political involvement. It seems her driver moved the car while she had one of her legs still out of the door.

The 66-year-old Trinamool supremo told the media just before being rushed to Kolkata, that she was pushed by four or five people against her car and had the door shut on her. At the time there were no police personnel around her, she said sitting in the front seat of an SUV. The Chief Minister appeared pale and dishevelled as she pointed to her leg, and said, “See how it is swelling up”.

When asked if she thought it was a planned attack, she said, “Of course it is a conspiracy… there were no policemen around me”. She appeared to be in pain. Both sides have approached the Election Commission which has expressed displeasure over the statement of some TMC leaders that the incident was the upshot of commission making changes in the state’s police set-up. The commission has disliked such insinuations.

What is interesting that BJP has been able to run into a TMC versus BJP battle in West Bengal with communists and the Congress becoming minor players in these polls. This marks a great shift in West Bengal’s political landscape where once CPI(M) and Congress were the main opponents. They dominated the politics of the state for a long long time. But things are changing now. There are signs of lotus slowly but surely sprouting in the eastern state.  This is no, doubt, going to be a tough battle for both the sides which have lined up stars in their candidate lists. Significantly, these stars are drawn not just from moviedom but also other walks of life including media.

While the advantage of BJP is that it has a charismatic leader like Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and a strategist like Amit Shah West Bengal chief minister and TMC top boss Mamta is known for her tenacity. She is not one to give up easily. It is, by all accounts, going to be a riveting battle.

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