Mamata Banerjee is trailing in early trends in Bengal’s Nandigram, where her BJP rival is her former trusted lieutenant Suvendu Adhikari.
The Chief Minister is nearly 5,000 votes behind Suvendu Adhikari, whose switch to the BJP led to a flood of defections from the Trinamool Congress and left her without many top aides.
It is while campaigning in Nandigram that the 66-year-old Chief Minister suffered a leg injury; she accused the BJP of a role in the incident, in which her leg was allegedly crushed by her car door by the press of a large crowd.
Suvendu Adhikari has vowed to quit politics if he doesn’t defeat Mamata Banerjee by more than 50,000 votes. Taunting his former mentor, Mr Adhikari has also asked her to be ready with a letterhead that says: “Former chief minister”.
Nandigram, the town that catapulted Mamata Banerjee to power in 2011, has become the prestige battleground in Bengal 2021.
In 2011, Suvendu Adhikari was Ms Banerjee’s right hand man as she campaigned for farmers’ land rights and rallied people around the Trinamool. He later won the constituency and for years, the Adhikari family had a firm grip over Nandigram.
Ms Banerjee, stung by Mr Adhikari’s betrayal, decided to take the fight straight to his stronghold to prove a point. She gave up her constituency Bhowanipore in Kolkata. In her speeches, she said she chose to contest Nandigram “to salute the Nandigram movement” and promised she would never abandon the constituency.