The political game or ‘khela’ as it is called in Bengali ended after the State Assembly election results were announced on the 2nd of May. Although Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry, and Assam witnessed elections too, the State which had everyone’s eyes on it was West Bengal. The fierce battle between the TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his closest aides Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP Party President JP Nadda, and several other stalwarts of the party had kept everybody across the nation on the edge for months in a row.
Although the BJP seemed extremely confident and Amit Shah had claimed that the party will stand invincible and will come to power by winning over 200 seats, and Narendra Modi unequivocally raised the slogan of ‘2 May didi gayi’ which meant that didi or Mamata Banerjee will be defeated on 2nd May; it was ultimately proven that no such tall claims worked for the BJP and none other than the All India Trinamool Congress came to power for its third tenure in a row now. This was true, the most historic win for Mamata and her party.
There are 294 seats in the West Bengal State Assembly, the polling for which took place in 8 phases from March 27th to April 29th. Mamata Banerjee and her party faced immense competition from the BJP but the Trinamool Congress got a whopping 213 seats and the BJP won 77 seats. On other hand, the left front faced an unprecedented route and could not win a single seat, and it was proven that the people of Bengal have rejected them and they have now wholly diminished from the political scenario of West Bengal. Also, the Indian National Congress, which was in an alliance with the Left Front and ISF could not win a single seat and yet, Rahul Gandhi congratulated Mamata not because she emerged victoriously but because she defeated the BJP!
Just as much as the whole of the State’s seat share trends kept everyone engaged, the single-seat of Nandigram was equally, if not more exciting for eyeing. Mamata’s former aide, Suvendu Adhikari who had shifted allegiance from the TMC to the BJP just a few months earlier, was BJP’s candidate from Nandigram. He had confidently claimed, “I will quit politics if I lose Nandigram”. Mamata, just like the way she is, was enraged at the fact that even Suvendu had jumped ships when a constant exodus of leaders from TMC to the BJP was going on. And simply to defeat Suvendu, she did not contest the 2021 elections from her traditional seat of Bhowanipore but had contested from Nandigram this time. For both Mamata and Suvendu, Nandigram had become a prestige issue and something personal.
From early morning to early afternoon, Suvendu was leading at Nandigram with a huge margin of more than 10k votes. But out of nowhere in the afternoon, Mamata went ahead of Adhikari, and later the news of her defeating Suvendu started doing the rounds. Things were not getting cleared for a long time. But finally, in the evening at around 7.30, the Election Commission of India officially announced that it was Suvendu Adhikari who had won the seat with a surplus of 1736 votes. It was hence proven that nobody, not even Mamata Banerjee herself can beat Suvendu at Nandigram! Nandigram is indeed Suvendu’s bastion. The battle for Nandigram, especially amidst the uncertain and fluctuating trends and the unofficial news being spread, came out as a complete nail-biter and a neck-to-neck battle.
After TMC’s victory was inevitable, Mamata addressed the press and requested everyone not to take out any victory procession and celebration rallies in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. With this, she asked the Election Commission to conduct a recounting for the votes for the seat of Nandigram. Amusingly, the TMC supremo did not have any complaints about the remaining 291 seats (2 candidates lost their lives battling COVID-19) but had issues with only Nandigram just because she did not manage to win. But the EC turned down her request and did not go for a recounting. Mamata was then swift enough to announce that if recounting doesn’t take place, she will move the Supreme Court!
Another sensational claim was made by Banerjee on 3rd May. She claimed that the Election Officer messaged her saying that his life would have been under threat if recounting would have been announced and thus, it did not take place!
Now, this is a matter which is begging for investigation, especially until the Election Officer denies Mamata’s claims. Another noteworthy point is that as soon as her party emerged victoriously, Mamata’s wheelchair was ditched by her. Her alleged ‘attack’ has still not been proven! And albeit Mamata claimed while addressing the media that TMC’s victory was Bengal’s win, her party workers or ‘goons’ as can be safely said, celebrated bizarrely. BJP’s Aarambagh office was set on fire. Many BJP workers were thrashed and killed, to one’s horror, a BJP worker’s pet puppies were killed too. Suvendu Adhikari and Dilip Ghosh’s convoys were attacked. Many shops were ransacked, looted, and vandalized. One believes that the real ‘khela’ has begun now!
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#Mamata Banerjee, #Narendra Modi, #Suvendu Adhikari, #TMC, #BJP, #Nandigram, #West Bengal