March 15, 2009 1:20:21 am
Picks up a mound of soil to salute martyrs and begin of her campaign
Kicking off her campaign here on Saturday afternoon, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee made it clear the Nandigram massacre by the police and ruling party members would be the focal theme of her campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. And to make the imagery striking,she picked up a mound of soil and touched it as a mark of respect for those who died in the March 14,2007 police firing here.
Her inaugural campaign rally had the support of Congress leaders who shared the dais with her.
At the Hazrakata grounds in Nandigram,the TMC and the Congress volunteers mingled together,marked only by their distinctive badges. At the dais,Sukhendu Shekhar Roy,a senior Congress leader said to be an emissary of Pranab Mukherjee,stood close to Banerjee,sending out a clear message that their joint fight against the ruling CPM had the blessings of the Congress high command. The TMC chief commemorated the second anniversary of the March 14 police firing in Nandigram that had killed 14 people. She also raised her pitch against the proposed chemical hub at Nayachar,the alternative site to Nandigam as announced by the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government.
Before the panchayat elections,I started my campaign from Nandigram and the people of Bengal supported us overwhelmingly. Now,before the Lok Sabha elections,it is Nandigram which will inspire us once again. How can we forget Nandigram where so many people were killed by the CPM government,so many women were raped and so many are still missing? The wounds of Nandigram have not yet healed, Banerjee said at the rally.
Sharing the dais with the family members of those killed and injured during the March 14 police firing, the Trinamool chief,in a symbolic gesture,picked up a mound of soil in an earthen pot and touched it as a mark of respect to the dead. She said this marked the beginning of her campaign. Stressing on her alliance with the Congress,she said,Pranab Mukherjee has sent Sukhendu Shekhar Roy,senior Congress leader,to share the dais with us. Together,we will drive the CPM out of Bengal.
In his speech,Roy returned the compliment We wanted the anti-CPM vote not to be divided. We will campaign and fight in a unified manner under the leadership of Banerjee. She is our leader, said Roy.
The entire world has come to know how atrocious and autocratic the CPM is and how the Marxists deprive the poor farmers and workers to appease the rich. We do not want a chemical hub,but a hub of humanity. We will not allow a chemical hub, Banerjee added.
Daring the CPM-led Left Front government to try to suppress democracy as it did two years ago,the Trinamool chief said,I would like to dedicate my partys poll manifesto to the martyrs of Nandigram. The manifesto would be released by the party in four to five days,she said.
People who resisted in parting with their land faced the wrath of the police and the Marxists,who did not hesitate to shoot them down,assault them,rape women and inflict atrocities, the Trinamool chief said.
Banerjee also introduced party nominees,Subhendu Adhikary (Tamluk),his father Sisir Adhikary (Contai) and Shiuli Saha (Bishnupur).
Cash for vote: Report sent to Delhi
The fate of the CPM candidate from Dum Dum,who allegedly distributed cheques and cash to people,lies locked in the special bag sent to Election Commission office in Delhi by the state electoral office today.
The Chief Electoral Officers office in Bengal received a complaint against CPM leader Amitava Nandy for allegedly distributing cheques and cash to relatives of deceased members of a local bus union during a function. Subsequently,the CEO had asked for a report from the DM of North 24 Parganas.
CEO Debashis Sen said the report was submitted by the DM today and has been sent to the Election Commission in Delhi. Action from Delhi is likely to be taken on Monday. We have received the report and sent it to Delhi where the final decision will be taken, Sen said.
Nandy said: The move is politically-motivated. I am not scared about the report. I can comment only when I get any official notice.
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