Mamata files nomination from Nandigram, suffers injuries later in the day and alleges conspiracy behind incident

Published : March 10, 2021 23:03 IST

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee files her nomination for the Nandigram Assembly constituency, at Haldia, west of Kolkata, on March 10. Photo: AP

In West Bengal the heavyweight electoral battle in Nandigram hots up as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleges a conspiracy to hurt her after she suffered injuries in Nandigram, Purbo Medinipur, on the day she filed her nomination from the same place. On the evening of March 10, Mamata, hours after filing her nomination, was returning from a religious function at a temple in Ranichok in Nandigram when the incident took place. According to Trinamool MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, at around 6:15 p.m., when she was about to leave Birulia Anchal, a few unknown persons pushed her to her car and forcibly shut the door, as a result of which she sustained injuries in her left leg and in her waist. Later Mamata also complained of chest pain and fever. She alleged that it was a premeditated conspiracy against her and not a single police personnel was in sight, nor was the Superintendent of Police (SP) there when the incident took place. The incident raised serious questions regarding Mamata’s security, particularly since she has Z-category security cover and is also the State Home minister in charge of police.

Mamata, who appeared to be in a lot of pain and discomfort, told the media as she was being taken to Kolkata, “I was greeting people, when four or five persons crowded round me…. I got badly hurt. See how it is swollen (her ankle). I am in a lot of pain… there were a large number of people there, but it is not the general public, it was four-five people who did this…. It was a conspiracy. There were no police personnel around. The SP was not there.”

Mamata, who was supposed to stay in Nandigram for the night, was rushed to the SSKM hospital in Kolkata. A five-member team of doctors was formed to look into her injuries. West Bengal Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee also echoed Mamata’s allegation that the incident was a “premeditated attack” to ensure that she could not continue with her election work. “Mamata often, overcome by emotion during puja ceremonies, moves away from the security, and remains by herself,” said Subrata Mukherjee.

However, the opposition parties openly expressed their doubts over the allegations of a pre-planned attack. BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is also the party’s central observer for Bengal, said, “I have seen that when Mamata moves, it is like the country’s Prime Minister moving. When she does her padayatra (marches) there are at least 100 policemen around her…. Is it possible for a State’s Chief Minister to be alone? I believe this is a ploy to misguide people. It is possible that she is hurt and she has my sympathies. But it is not correct to spread that the opposition have attacked her and thereby try and gain sympathy. The matter should be handed over to the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) so that a proper investigation can take place.”

According to West Bengal Congress president and Leader of the Congress Party in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the incident and the allegations are parts of the election process. “Mamata Banerjee is Bengal’s Chief Minister as well as the Police Minister, it is strange that when she is attacked, the police is not there…. After being attacked, of all the places she got hurt in her leg; and the incident had to happen in Nandigram too, where it is important to build up the momentum for the election; it has to be proved that women are being attacked. I believe this is a part of the election process. Bengal’s Didi and India’s Modi complement each other in doing drama,” said Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, alleging that she was trying to create a sympathy wave for her. Meenakshi Mukherjee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), who will be contesting for the Sanjukta Morcha (Left-Congress-Indian Secular Front alliance) said, “The Chief Minister is saying it is a conspiracy. For the last 10 years we have been hearing the same tale. We do not know whether this is a conspiracy or a drama.”

Earlier in the day, the BJP alleged that the Trinamool was using the police for election purposes in Nandigram. BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya had said, “We have proof that the police are contacting eminent people in the villages; they are taking pictures of people’s houses and promising to build them pukka houses soon, and is listening to their complaints and problems…."