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Mamata Banerjee vs. Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram: 4 Scenarios for West Bengal Assembly Elections | India News

NEW DELHI: West Bengal’s prime minister, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) led by Mamata Banerjee, declared the names of 291 candidates for the 294-member state assembly on Friday. Banerjee would compete from Nandigram, the constituency of his former loyalist Suvendu Adhikari, who passed to the BJP in December last year.
Banerjee has left its traditional Bhowanipore seat. The TMC has dispatched Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay from his own turf.
The remaining three seats in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong have been left to TMC’s alliance partner, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM).
Although the BJP has not officially revealed the name of the candidate who would compete with Nandigram, Adhikari would be his likely opponent. He had accepted the gauntlet thrown by Banerjee and announced that if he could not defeat her by half a lakh vote, he would leave politics.
Adhikari is a former Lok Sabha MP for two terms and a former civil rights player for two terms. He was elected to Kanthi Dakshin’s first MLA in May 2006.
He contested the 2009 Lok Sabha election with a Tamluk TMC ticket and won. He vacated his seat in the assembly in May 2009.
Adhikari fought in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from the same constituency and won. However, he gave up his seat in Lok Sabha to contest the Nandigram assembly election in 2016. He defeated Abdul Kadir Sheikh, the joint candidate of the Left Front and the congressional alliance.
He resigned from his position at Nandigram on December 16 last year and will likely be assigned from the same position by the BJP.
The battle of Mamata-Adhikari in Nandigram would be one of the most watched contests in the West Bengal elections.
Mamata Banerjee’s contest with Suvendu Adhikari would attract attention because the latter is quite popular with the masses in the Nandigram constituency of East Medinipur and she herself is the chief minister of state and the head of TMC.
Indeed, Adhikari was the face of the Nandigram movement of 2007 when the Left Front government tried to acquire land to turn it into a special economic zone. A clash broke out between the local population and the police in which several people lost their lives. This upheaval catapulted Mamata Banerjee to power and ended the 34-year rule of the PCM in the state.
Now Adhikari has the full backing of the BJP and Union Interior Minister Amit Shah. With her personal popularity and BJP power, Adhikari is likely to present a strong challenge to Mamata.
On the other hand, Mamata is known as a fierce street fighter. He left Congress and founded the TMC. He built the party from scratch and managed to defeat the Left Front government in 2011 and retained power in the 2016 assembly elections.
Suvendu Adhikari was once considered close to her. However, he began to distance himself from Mamata Banerjee because of the influence of his nephew Abhishek Banerjee at the party. He finally resigned from the party last year and joined the BJP along with 40 supporters in the presence of Amit Shah.
The high voltage choice is a life and death battle for both Mamata Banerjee and Suvendu Adhikari and these are the four scenarios:
1. Both Mamata and TMC win
If both Mamata and TMC win, it would be a great vindication of the supreme TMC position. His stature would also grow nationally.
The other opposition parties are likely to join Mamata, who would become one of the most serious opponents of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. She already has the support of parties like the RJD, AAP, Shiv Sena and JMM.
On the contrary, the results would be the biggest loss of face not only for the BJP but also for Suvendu Adhikari personally.
2. Mamata wins but TMC loses
Mamata may beat Nandigram, but his TMC may lose to BJP.
In such a scenario, although he would personally win, he would lose power. He would have to content himself with becoming leader of the opposition in the state assembly.
On the other hand, although the BJP would come to power, its victory would remain incomplete as one of its prominent faces would have lost.
3. TMC wins but Mamata loses
There is a chance that the TMC will win the election, but Mamata will lose to Suvendu Adhikari from Nandigram. This would be similar to a defeat for the TMC, as the battle would have been won but at the general’s expense.
TMC can still choose Mamata as its leader and she would become the chief minister. One of TMC’s MLAs can resign and allow Mamata to fight in the election within six months.
4. Both Mamata and TMC lose
Both Mamata Banerjee and her TMC losing the election would be the worst case scenario for them. Rather, it would be both Suvendu Adhikari and the BJP’s most complete victory.
As the BJP came to power, Adhikari would become a “giant killer” and be handed a key portfolio in government.
West Bengal would vote in eight phases starting on March 27 and the fate of Mamata Banerjee, TMC, Suvendu Adhikari and the BJP would be known on May 2.

Times of India

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