Ahead of the second phase of West Bengal assembly polls, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday held a 'padyatra' over wheelchair in Nandigram, making it her first roadshow in the high-stakes constituency after being injured in an alleged attack earlier this month after filing her nomination. Nandigram is about to witness the most high-profile battle in the second phase of polls on April 1, with Banerjee taking on her former aide Suvendu Adhikari, who joined the BJP in December last year.
Thousands of people accompanied the Trinamool supremo waving party flags as she rallied from Khudiram Mod to Thakur Chowk in Nandigram Block-2, which was followed by a public meeting in Jansabha Boyal II. The CM will hold another at 2 pm and at 3:30 pm in the Amdabad High School Ground.
Suvendu Adhikari had earlier challenged Banerjee to contest from Nandigram and vowed to beat her with over 50,000 votes.
While Mamata Banerjee attempts to rally Nandigram to her cause, the BJP has a series of political events and rallies lined up in the city. Union Home Minister Amit Shah is set to hold a massive roadshow in Nandigram on Tuesday to bat for heavyweight candidate Adhikari. Moreover, Bollywood star and BJP inductee Mithun Chakraborty is also expected to conduct a roadshow for the party in Nandigram ahead of the second phase of polling.
As Bengal's phase-1 polls got underway on Saturday, BJP released an alleged audiotape wherein Mamata Banerjee reportedly asked a saffron party leader from Nandigram to extend his support to her for the polls. In a massive polling day controversy, BJP claimed that the TMC supremo tried to win over BJP's Nandigram vice-president Pralay Pal. According to BJP, Pal told the TMC supremo that he could not betray the Adhikaris and the BJP.
On January 18, Mamata set up the Nandigram faceoff by announcing that she will contest from Nandigram and Bhowanipore in the upcoming state polls, and then later decided against contesting in the latter - her current assembly seat. She recently suffered an injury while campaigning in the city and the Trinamool blamed her saffron rivals for it. As she vowed to conduct her campaign in a wheelchair, the BJP termed it 'sympathy politics'
The first phase of polling for the 294-member state Assembly concluded on Saturday with 82% voter turnout. Voting for the remaining seven phases will be held between April 1 to 29 and the results will be declared on May 2.
(Image credits: PTI)