Former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee released an audio message on Tuesday, saying that the “silence of the graveyard” has engulfed Nandigram and Singur in the past decade. The ailing, veteran CPM leader, 77, also referred to the ongoing stand-off between the ruling Trinamool and the opposition BJP as “cunning conspirators” now divided and “throwing mud at each other”.
Nandigram has become a keenly-watched contest in the ongoing West Bengal Assembly elections after CM Mamata Banerjee announced that she would contest from the seat instead of her home turf of Bhawanipore this time. Nandigram strongman and Banerjee’s former close aide Suvendu Adhikari, who recently joined the BJP, has urged people to defeat her in his home constituency. However, Nandigram will still witness a triangular fight, with the entry of CPM candidate Minakshi Mukherjee.
Around 15 years ago, the Nandigram and Singur movements against land acquisition brought the end of 34 years of Left rule in Bengal. These movements also catapulted Mamata Banerjee into the centrestage of West Bengal politics. She became chief minister in 2011.
“The silence of the graveyard has engulfed Nandigram and Singur. The conspirators of that cunning drama are united today and slinging mud at each other,” Bhattacharjee said in a statement shared by his party on Monday.
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The veteran leader’s remarks come a day after CM Banerjee, while addressing a rally in Nandigram, accused “father-son duo” (a veiled reference to Suvendu Adhikari and Sisir Adhikari) of a being behind a “conspiracy” to allow police to enter Nandigram on March 14, 2007 which led to the killing of 14 members of the anti-farm land acquisition movement.
“The environment of communal amity that was the pride of Bengal has been turned poisonous. On one hand, you have the despotic Trinamool and on the other the BJP’s destructive and capitalistic economic policy, its divisive politics, and communal polarisation, behind which there is the dangerous ideology of the RSS. The result is the destruction of this state,” said Bhattacharjee.
Recently hospitalised for respiratory distress, Bhattacharjee had not made any political statements for a long while. With even the state government not generating jobs,“talent was moving out of the state”, he said.
“The dreams of the youths are shattered, the education sector is blackened, and healthcare has collapsed,” he said. “This election is a turning point in Bengal politics. The current situation has to end. It is time for the people of Bengal to [create a] turnaround,” he said, appealing to the voters to “make every Samyukta Morcha candidate victorious”.
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