BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari today called himself a “bhoomiputra” as he filed his documents to contest the Bengal election from Nandigram, where he has challenged his former mentor Mamata Banerjee.
“I am a bhoomiputra (son of this land) and I will win,” Suvendu Adhikari declared after filing his election papers at Nandigram.
“Bengal should have the same government as Delhi for the state’s progress,” he said, pitching for the ruling party, which he joined in December in a mass exodus from the Trinamool.
“I hope to receive blessings from the people. I am confident people will support BJP and bring it to power for real development in West Bengal. There is no question of any competition,” Mr Adhikari told ANI.
He did not refer to his rival at all; after an incident two days ago at the very same spot, Mamata Banerjee is in hospital. The Chief Minister alleges that a crowd pressed against her and her leg was crushed when she was waving to people from a moving SUV after filing her nomination on Wednesday.
Mr Adhikari, who has been calling Mamata Banerjee an “outsider” while campaigning in Nandigram, said: “I have now become a voter in Nandigram and got my voter card. I would appeal to all of you to not waste your votes in favour of outsiders who have betrayed your trust and aspirations after coming to power in 2011.”
Mamata Banerjee, speaking yesterday from her hospital bed in Kolkata and her foot in a cast, said she would resume her campaign in two-three days in a wheelchair.
An array of BJP leaders have derided the Chief Minister’s allegation of a “conspiracy” behind what happened in Nandigram, accusing her of faking her injuries for sympathy.
Mr Adhikari said he was confident that the BJP would win by a huge margin in the town that he represented in the past. “The BJP won 18 parliamentary seats in 2019 and it will form a strong government this time with a huge margin,” he declared. He went on to diss his former party Trinamool, calling it a “private limited company” where few had a say.
“Everybody else, apart from the aunt and nephew (Mamata Banerjee and Trinamool MP Abhishek Banerjee), are lamp posts in the party,” he said.
Nandigram has become the blockbuster battle of this election with a contest between the two-time Chief Minister and the man who was by her side through most of it.
Mr Adhikari has vowed to quit politics if he can’t beat his ex-boss by at least 50,000 votes.
He won the Nandigram seat as a Trinamool candidate in 2016 by winning over 67 per cent of the votes. This time, it is a prestige fight.
Bengal will vote in eight rounds starting March 27 and the results will be declared on May 2.