Mamata Banerjee to lead rally against fuel price hike in Siliguri

KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday said she is contesting from Nandigram to work along with members of Shaheed families against “anti-Bengal forces”, remembering the innocent villagers were killed in firing at Nandigram on March 14 in 2007.

“On this day, in 2007, innocent villagers were killed in firing at Nandigram. Many bodies could not be found. It was a dark chapter in the history of the State. Heartfelt tribute to all those who lost their lives,” she tweeted.

”In memory of those who lost their lives in Nandigram, we observe March 14 as Krishak Dibas every year and give away the Krishak Ratna awards. Farmers are our pride and our government is working for their all-round development,” she said in another tweet.

”As a mark of respect and encouraged by my brothers and sisters of Nandigram, I am contesting Bengal Elections 2021 as an AITC candidate from this historic place. It is my great honour to be here and work along with members of Shaheed families against anti-Bengal forces,” she added.

In 2007, several villagers were reportedly killed and many others sustained injuries during a protest over land acquisition for a special economic zone (SEZ) in Nandigram in East Midnapore district.

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The incident had sparked a national outrage and the Calcutta High Court had suo motu ordered a CBI probe.

Banerjee, then the opposition leader, had spearheaded a movement against the Left Front government’s acquisition of arable land in Nandigram and Singur for industrialisation.

Her party reaped rich dividends from the agitations, winning 50 per cent of the panchayat seats in 2008, bagging 19 Lok Sabha seats in 2009 and ending the 34-year-long Left Front rule in the state in 2011.

Mamata Banerjee had been contesting polls from the Bhawanipore constituency. The BJP fielded former TMC leader Suvendu Adhikari from Nandigram against Mamata Banerjee, setting the stage for a high-profile contest from the seat.

Meanwhile, Trinamool on Sunday cancelled the election manifesto’s release which was scheduled for today. The next date will be announced later.

Earlier, the manifesto was scheduled to be released on March 11. However, the release of the manifesto was cancelled following an alleged attack on Mamata.

Banerjee will conduct a roadshow, days after sustaining injuries during election campaigning, on a wheelchair from Gandhi Murti to Hazra here today, Trinamool Congress (TMC) party sources said. She will address a public rally at Hazra this afternoon.

It will be her first public appearance after she was allegedly attacked by some people in Nandigram earlier this week.

On March 10, the Chief Minister, who was on a two-day visit to Nandigram from where she filed her nomination, alleged that she was pushed by a few unidentified people during her election campaigning. Later, she was brought to Kolkata’s SSKM Hospital by road from Nandigram.

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Banerjee sustained “severe bone injuries” on her left foot and ankle as well as bruises and injuries on her shoulder, forearm and neck, according to the report of her initial medical examination.

The Chief Minister was discharged from the hospital on March 12.

West Bengal is likely to witness a triangular contest this time with TMC, Congress-Left alliance and the BJP in the fray.

Elections to 294-member West Bengal Assembly will be held in eight phases starting from March 27 with the final round of voting taking place on April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.

(With PTI Inputs)