Making a sensational claim, TMC-turned-BJP politician Suvendu Adhikari said today that the 2018 panchayat polls were rigged — while addressing a poll rally in West Bengal’s Jhargram. He claimed that he was in the TMC then and had witnessed how that party would use police force to rig the election.
Adhikari said that the people of Jhargram and Purulia had voted for the lotus. Claiming that Mamata Banerjee-led party used force to not allow the opposition to file their nomination, Adhikari said that the TMC leadership had masterminded the violence on the polling day. Lending credence to his claim is the statistic that in 2018, the TMC had won uncontested in around 34.2% seats.
Adhikari, who was one of the close aides of Mamata Banerjee and also the chief planner of the Nandigram agitation, said, “I was then in the TMC. People of Jhargram and Purulia had voted for the lotus (symbol of BJP). But the TMC used police force that night till around 3 AM, to rig the election. It was the BJP who had actually won the Zilla Parishad of Jhargram and Purulia. But the public opinion was never reflected.”
He continued, “The opposition was not allowed to file their nomination. Goons armed with guns and bombs had surrounded the BDO offices, where nominations were to be filed. Opposition leaders were implicated in false cases and some were even abducted to ensure that they are not able to file nominations. They were not allowed to campaign, and violence was unleashed on the polling day.”
Adhikari had earlier taunted Mamata and claimed that more TMC leaders will exit the party. Banerjee has announced that she will contest from Nandigram seat where she will be trounced. Besides, her vote share in Bhowanipore constituency has shrunk drastically since the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The TMC supremo may declare in the coming days that she will contest from Domjur or Bally seats. But wherever she goes, she will face the music,” Adhikari said while addressing a public meeting.
Intensifying the battle for Bengal, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee on 18 January, announced that she will contest from Nandigram in the upcoming state polls. She suggested that she may contest from both Bhawanipore and Nandigram, setting up a direct faceoff with her ex-confidante Suvendu Adhikari. . The ex-Nandigram MLA was the mastermind of the 2007 Nandigram agitation – responded, “I will leave politics if I fail to defeat her by half a lakh votes”. However, he later said that he will ensure the victory of anyone who contests on BJP ticket from Nandigram.
The BJP has claimed it’ll win 200 seats, while the Trinamool, via Prashant Kishor has contended that the saffron party won’t cross 99. West Bengal assembly with 294 seats will go to polls in April-May 2021, Trinamool holds 222 seats. BJP has made major inroads in the state in the Lok Sabha elections winning 18 seats and establishing itself as the major opposition force in the state. Mamata Banerjee has announced that she will contest polls from Nandigram, the place that paved way for her rule in the state, and her ex-aide Suvendu Adhikari – who is now in BJP – has vowed to defeat her.