NEW DELHI: Days after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accused her then confidant and present rival Suvendu Adhikari of being involved in the 2007 violence in Nandigram, the CPI(M) on Thursday said the remarks vindicated the party’s stand and “exposed the truth about the incident” in which 14 people lost their lives.
At a public meeting on Sunday, Banerjee accused both Suvendu Adhikari and his father Sisir Adhikari of allowing the police to enter Nandigram in 2007.
She also accused the father-son duo of allowing “police wearing slippers” to enter the village in West Bengal’s East Midnapore district.
Fourteen villagers protesting against land acquisition in Nandigram were killed, many by police firing, on March 14, 2007.
The Left Front, led by the CPI(M), was in power in West Bengal then.
Reacting to Banerjee’s remarks, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the comments finally “vindicated” his party’s stand on the incident that occurred more than a decade ago.
“From the right-wing RSS, the fundamentalist forces to the ultra-Left and the Maoists — all ganged up, brought in illegal arms to create this unrest in Nandigram in 2007. Now, everything is exposed. Both Mamata and the Adhikaris have confirmed this.
“There are reports that Suvendu Adhikari has claimed Mamata knew the value of every bullet that was fired and the names of those on whom they were fired on. This is the fact, we had said it then and it was correct. The truth has been exposed but it took them more than 10 years to admit this,” Yechury told PTI.
He also said Thursday’s violence in Nandigram will have an effect on polling.
“Violence is still underway in the town and people are not being allowed to vote. The Election Commission is silent on the matter,” the Left leader said.
Speaking of Banerjee’s letter to opposition parties, calling for a unified fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he said the CPI(M) was pushing for such a stand from all the secular, non-BJP parties in the run-up to the 2019 general election.
He also said his party had not received any such letter from the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo.
The CPI(M) was quick to latch on to Banerjee’s comments to train its guns on the TMC.
On its verified Facebook page, the party wrote that Banerjee’s speech had proved that “her TMC” plotted a deep-rooted conspiracy and the then opposition party in West Bengal was behind the killings of the 14 villagers in Nandigram in 2007.
Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from Nandigram on Thursday even as Banerjee, the TMC candidate from the seat, and Adhikari, the BJP nominee, fanned out to various polling booths to take stock of the situation after reports of stray violence and booth “jamming” (a bid by the workers of a political party to crowd out voters from a polling booth by forming long queues) emerged.
Such incidents were reported despite prohibitory orders under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) being clamped in the entire Nandigram constituency to prevent possible violence.
In the Boyal area of Nandigram, villagers alleged that BJP supporters stopped them from going to the polling booths.