KOLKATA: Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Friday said she will be contesting only from Nandigram, leaving her own seat, Bhawanipur in south Kolkata, to state power minister Sobhandeb Chatterjee. On the other hand, the Bhartiya Janata Party BJP on Saturday named Suvendu Adhikari as its Nandigram candidate.
The announcement has made Nandigram the most important contest of this Assembly election with Mamata Banerjee facing the saffron party and those who ditched TMC and joined the BJP.
Once one of Mamata's close aides, Adhikari is the outgoing MLA from Nandigram.
The former minister for transport and environment Adhikari had quit the TMC and joined the BJP last year in the presence of Union Minister Amit Shah at a rally in Midnapore. He was the Trinamool MLA from Nandigram since 2016 and is widely seen as the BJP's most important acquisition before the polls.
Following Adhikari's exit from the party, a slew of leaders from TMS also joined the BJP.
Banerjee had earlier announced that she will contest from Nandigram, from where Adhikari had won the last Assembly polls. Whereas, Adhikari has expressed his desire to contest on a BJP ticket from the Nandigram Assembly constituency in the upcoming state polls.
Both the BJP and TMC has been fighting a tough battle against each other, while Adhikari has claimed that he would defeat Mamata by a margin of 'at least 50,000 votes', Mamata left her own seat to contest from Nandigram.
Nandigram is a prominent constituency in the sense that it is the same constituency that led to rise of the TMC in 2007. Both Mamata and Adhikari spearhead the land rights of farmers in the area that eventually resulted in TMC's win in the 2011 Legislative Elections.
BJP today announced the name of 56 other candidates for the March-April assembly elections, out of which six are women and one seat has been given to the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU).
Election to the 294-member West Bengal Assembly will be held in eight phases from March 27 to April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.