WB elections: Mamata Banerjee wins Nandigram, defeats her former aide and BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari
Adding colour to her victory in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has defeated BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari, her former right hand man, from Nandigram with a thin margin of 1,200 votes.
Though she trailed Suvendu Adhikari in the early rounds, Mamata finally managed to go past him and clinch a victory with a 1,200-vote lead.
The win was critical for Mamata as Nandigram is the town that catapulted her to power for the first time in 2011.
Defeating Adhikari must be even more joyful for her since the latter ditched her to cross over to the BJP.
In 2011, Suvendu Adhikari was by Banerjee’s side as she campaigned for farmers’ land rights. He became an MLA in the constituency and for years, the Adhikari family had a firm grip over Nandigram. But in this election, he was weaponized by the BJP against the Chief Minister, who was pitched as an “outsider” in Nandigram.
Suvendu Adhikari’s switch to the BJP in December led to mass defections that left Ms Banerjee without many of her loyal aides.
Stung by Adhikari’s betrayal, Banerjee decided to take the fight straight to his stronghold to prove a point. She gave up her constituency Bhowanipore in Kolkata. In her speeches, she said she chose to contest Nandigram “to salute the Nandigram movement” and promised she would never abandon the constituency.
It was while campaigning in Nandigram that the 66-year-old Chief Minister suffered a leg injury; she accused the BJP of a role in the incident, in which her leg was allegedly crushed by her car door by the press of a large crowd. For the rest of the campaign, she was in a wheelchair, taking on the collective might of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and multiple BJP leaders from outside.
Suvendu Adhikari has vowed to quit politics if he didn’t defeat Mamata Banerjee by more than 50,000 votes. Taunting his former mentor, Mr Adhikari has also asked her to be ready with a letterhead that says: “Former chief minister”.