Kolkata: It was round 11.45 pm and there was nip within the air on that fateful evening in January 2007. Soumen, supervisor for a resort and properly linked within the space, was about to go away the Inexperienced Valley Resort in Tamluk in East Midnapore when a journalist requested him to rearrange for 20 litres of petrol as there was no gasoline in his official automotive.
The odd request round midnight got here as a shock for Soumen. “Dada (elder brother) will arrange it tomorrow morning,” mentioned Soumen.
However the journalist mentioned he needed it proper then as he needed to enter Nandigram by early morning of January 7, 2007. “It’s good to reach Nandigram police station early otherwise we will not be able to reach due to dug up roads and extra vigilant armed guards of Bhumi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee (BUPC.) There is a risk if we travel during daytime.”
The BUPC (baked by the Maoists) was an organisation that gave stiff armed resistance towards the land acquisition required for chemical SEZ deliberate by the Salim Group of Indonesia. The SEZ was a dream venture of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the then chief minister of West Bengal.
Soumen agreed and in some way he organized the gasoline. At round 1 within the morning, the media individual began his journey from the Inexperienced Valley Resort. A senior journalist (now retired) from a well known English every day additionally accompanied him after his automotive was vandalised whereas making an attempt to enter Nandigram on January 6, 2007.
After dealing with many hurdles (attributable to dug up roads and blocked lanes with picket logs), the 2 journalists reached Nandigram police station at 3am and waited for the daybreak to interrupt.
It was a dangerous choice. Regardless of being warned by the editor in Kolkata, the journalist was adamant to enter Nandigram within the odd hours as a result of no genuine information was popping out of the ‘liberated zone’.
The world round Nandigram police station bore a abandoned look and nobody dared to enter contained in the villages.
As deliberate, the journalists contacted a BUPC member, Nishikanta Mondal, (later killed by Maoists on suspicion of being a police informer) and requested him to create a protected passage by way of Sonachura, Garchakraberia and Tekhali for protection the place the incident of brutal clashes came about between CPI (M) and BUPC supporters (backed by the Maoists).
Round 4 am, an inebriated man in his thirties got here along with his ‘Vano’ (tricycle rickshaw used to hold items in addition to commuters by way of the unmotorable roads contained in the villages) and mentioned, “Nishi da pathiyechhey (Nishikanta has sent me)”.
The scenario was tense and solely a person in an inebriated state may dare to enter villages inside Nandigram.
The media individuals together with a photographer left their automotive on the Nandigram police station and sat within the Vano. Whereas passing by way of Sonachura space, a gaggle of avenue canine preventing over a chunk of ‘charred flesh’ drew the photographer’s consideration.
“Stop,” the journalist tolf the ‘Vano’ puller.
What they noticed subsequent (after getting nearer) was a ghastly website of canine mauling a charred, headless human physique. The sight despatched shivers down their backbone.
The photographer rapidly captured the picture and, after a quick interplay with the villagers at Sonachura, Garchakraberia and Tekhali, all of them vacated the place fearing for his or her lives as even policemen/fight forces had been hesitant then to enter the village.
Subsequent day the grisly images and a ‘first-person account’ of canine mauling a physique in Nandigram shook the complete nation. The worldwide media additionally began retaining a detailed watch in Nandigram.
Later, it was discovered that the charred physique belonged to an lively CPI (M) chief Shankar Samanta who was working in favour of the SEZ within the space.
The difficulty had began in Nandigram when the Left-Entrance authorities determined to arrange a chemical hub in Nandigram by the Salim Group of Indonesia. As per plan, almost 10,000 acres of land was required for the Particular Financial Zone and the federal government began the acquisition course of.
Through the preliminary stage of land acquisition, the villagers, primarily supporters of opposition events, shaped a united discussion board to avoid wasting their land beneath the banner of Bhumi Uchchhed Pratirodh Committee (BUPC).
Stories of violent clashes between the CPI (M) and BUPC members began pouring in from all throughout Nandigram.
The BUPC members blocked all main roads main into the area from January 2007 to March 2007. Many complaints had been registered at Nandigram and Khejuri police stations alleging arson and looting, however police couldn’t do something fearing Maoists’ presence within the space (believed to be led by Mallojula Koteshwar Rao alias Kishen Ji). Hundreds of Left-Entrance supporters had been attacked, killed, burnt alive and pushed out from their properties.
Fearing dying, 1000’s of those supporters, staff and leaders took shelter in close by camps arrange by the then ruling authorities.
State of affairs worsened on March 14 2007, when the native administration was requested by the then Left Entrance authorities to revive the regulation and order scenario and to free Nandigram from BUPC’s management.
A big contingent of police drive led by then Inspector Basic of Police Arun Gupta together with Superintendent of Police Ganghi Srinivasan and Extra Superintendent of Police Tanmay Roychowdhury launched a crackdown towards almost 5,000 BUPC members.
It was a pitched battle which led the police to open fireplace (as mobs went uncontrolled) and 14 individuals had been shot lifeless on March 14, 2007. Lots of them stay lacking until date.
Following the Nandigram firing, former Bengal Governor and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Gopal Krishna Gandhi, issued an announcement, which mentioned, “The news of deaths by police firing has filled me with a sense of cold horror.”
After months of fierce battle between the Left and the BUPC (backed by the Maoists), Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee determined to cancel the SEZ venture.
On September 3, Bhattacharjee supplied ‘Nayachar’ (an island within the Hooghly River, off Haldia in East Medinipur) for a similar venture to the Salim group. Nevertheless, the venture didn’t materialise.
The battle of Nandigram left greater than 3,000 individuals homeless and over 60 lifeless. It additionally drew the eye of civil society individuals like Sunil Gangopadhyay, Aparna Sen and Rituporno Ghosh. All of them visited Nandigram and raised their voice towards the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee authorities.
On November 21, 2007, the parliament held an pressing dialogue on Nandigram and finally the Calcutta Excessive Court docket on March 16, 2007 requested the CBI to analyze the incident.
On December 18, 2013, CBI gave clear chit to Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and, in its charge-sheet submitted earlier than further chief judicial Justice of the Peace (Haldia), claimed: “It has been established that the assembly (of BUPC workers) was an unlawful and they obstructed police from performing their legal duty. More than 30 police personnel were injured.”
The CBI report got here as an enormous aid for the state authorities and it’s believed that the Nandigram motion was a deep conspiracy towards the Left-Entrance authorities in Bengal.
A day after the Nandigram firing on March 14, 2007, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee noticed an enormous political alternative to oust the 34 years rule of the Left-Entrance.
She, together with a lot of supporters, stormed into the ‘liberated zone’ on March 15, 2007 to face beside the victims’ households.
Mamata’s convoy began from the Inexperienced Valley Resort — which is sort of 54 km from Nandigram police station. The place was chosen for Mamata’s keep contemplating the risky scenario in and round Nandigram.
She reached Nandigram within the afternoon and whereas interacting with the victims on the hospital, she complained of suffocation and delicate chest ache. A person in his thirties – carrying a crisp white kurta – was noticeably wanting tense amongst many.
He instantly organized a particular ward at Nandigram Sub-divisional hospital the place Mamata was rushed and placed on oxygen help. The scene exterior the hospital was tense and ‘the man wearing a crisp white kurta’ was equally careworn.
“Please don’t raise slogans as Didi needs some rest. The world is watching Nandigram and our movement. Didi is fine. Let Didi come out of the hospital…we will march towards Sonachura, Bhangabera, Garchakraberia, Tekhali, Tengua, Khejuri and Gelimgham to show solidarity to our brother and sisters,” he mentioned.
Three days afterward March 17, 2007 (after the Nandigram firing), there was a serious chaos at Sonachura Market when three Krishi Jami Bachao Committee (KJBC) leaders, recognized as Gaur Hari Barik, Purna Pal and Buddhadeb Mirda¸ had been allegedly kidnapped by the CPI (M) cadres and brought in the direction of Khejuri.
Once more, this man — who joined Mamata’s camp in 2000 after leaving Congress — was swung into motion. He requested his males to start out a large hunt to seek out out the ‘kidnapped’ KJBC leaders. He knowledgeable the native police who later rescued all of the victims from an deserted home in Khejuri.
Be it each motion, political and public conferences – this man was actively seen standing beside Mamata Banerjee in her dangerous and good instances as her shadow.
Years have handed and the rise of this man in Midnapore has definitely helped Mamata safe the ability of corridors in Bengal as she managed to oust the 34-year rule of Left-Entrance authorities with an enormous mandate in 2011.
Evidently, the person is none aside from Suvendu Adhikari.
Many distinguished leaders equivalent to Sisir Adhikari (Suvendu’s father), Siddiqullah Chowdhury and Sheikh Sufiyan had joined the motion — which many believed Mamata had highjacked for her political mileage.
Suvendu’s efforts to strengthen TMC in ‘Rarh Bangla’ didn’t go unnoticed and he obtained his due respect. From Member of the Parliament, to state ministers to chairperson of the co-operative banks – Mamata rewarded him for his wrestle in Nandigram.
Many believed that Suvendu earned it however equally agreed that it was TMC which gave him the platform to point out his political acumen.
So what went unsuitable after 20 years of his affiliation with the TMC? What prompted him to distance himself from Mamata Banerjee? Why did the BJP present desperation to rope him within the saffron brigade?
Many within the social gathering consider that Suvendu, who was in two minds, lastly determined to say goodbye to TMC when a lot of the outdated guards together with him had been changed with new faces as in-charge of the districts on July 23, 2020.
That was the final nail within the coffin.
Since then, Suvendu remained proud of the ‘attitude’ of some TMC leaders, together with Mamata’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee, and willingly opted out of key social gathering conferences.
Within the meantime, in September, 2017 Suvendu was probed by the Enforcement Directorate in Narada case.
The scenario turned bitter after Mamata sprung a shock by show-causing almost 200 TMC staff/leaders alone from Nandigram – the realm which Suvendu is emotionally linked with in East Midnapore.
Regardless of receiving complaints over ‘ration scam’ from all around the districts – Mamata’s wrath towards almost 200 social gathering staff from Nandigram drew consideration of the political consultants within the state.
Amid speculations on his stand within the social gathering, Suvendu put the social gathering in an uncomfortable scenario after he gave a miss to a authorities programme in Jhargram on August 9, 2020 to mark Worldwide Day of World’s Indigenous Folks.
Since 2017, his absence from essential social gathering conferences created a discomfort within the social gathering as many felt the gesture would go towards TMC within the essential meeting polls in 2021.
And, they had been proper.
Twenty years of his affiliation with Didi got here to an finish on November 27, 2020 when he resigned from Mamata’s Cupboard.
Eighteen days of his resignation had been adopted with heaps of reward from the BJP leaders about his political clout in Bengal and a name from BJP nationwide secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya to convey birthday needs to him on December 15 and centrally permitted Z-category safety — clear all of the air over his future political stand in Bengal.
He shared the dais with Amit Shah in Midnapore on December 19 the place the Union Residence Minister held a public rally.
However why, regardless of Suvendu’s poor efficiency (as a district in-charge in Purulia, Jhargram, Murshidabad, Malda, East Midnapore, West Midnapore, Bankura and in Bishnupur) within the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, was the BJP eager to have Suvendu in its kitty?
The reply is, each Mamata, who got here to energy using the waves of anti-land acquisition actions in Nandigram and Singur, and Suvendu are ‘products’ of the Nandigram motion. And BJP needs to hit it laborious the place it’s going to damage TMC probably the most.
With a robust anti-incumbency marketing campaign, BJP has determined to subject Suvendu towards Mamata in Nandigram, which is being touted to be the mom of all battles.
Alluring extra TMC leaders – aside from Suvendu – few months forward of the polls was merely a BJP’s properly scripted plan to unfold the message that TMC is a sinking ship and the voters have just one choice and that’s BJP.
A fast look in Suvendu’s efficiency in 2019 Lok Sabha revealed that TMC has misplaced 9 Lok Sabha seats out of 13 the place he is named a mass chief and believed to have sufficient clout among the many individuals in Purulia, Jhargram, Murshidabad, Malda, East Midnapore, West Midnapore, Bankura and in Bishnupur.
In whole, there are 13 Lok Sabha seats and 86 meeting seats in Purulia, Murshidabad, Malda, West Midnapore, Jhargram, East Midnapore, Bankura and in Bishnupur the place Suvendu is believed to be a wonderful taskmaster in sales space administration.
Nevertheless, going with the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, besides 4 seats – that are Kanthi (received by Suvendu’s father Sishir Adhikari on TMC ticket however BJP gained by 33.54 per cent vote share whereas Sishir loses 3.82 per cent vote share), Tamluk (received by Suvendu’s brother Dibyendu on TMC ticket however BJP gained by 30.54 per cent vote share whereas Dibyendu loses 3.52 per cent vote share), Jangipur (received by TMC’s Khalilur Rahman who defeated BJP’s Mafuja Khatun), and Murshidabad (received by TMC’s Abu Taher Khan) – all of the seats had been misplaced by the ruling TMC.
In a nutshell, out of 13 Lok Sabha seats, TMC received solely 4 seats (two went to Congress) and besides Jangipur and Murshidabad – in all of the seats TMC’s vote share gone down considerably (the place Suvendu was in cost), whereas BJP’s rose to almost 29-30 per cent.
The BJP on their lonesome managed to win vital seven out of 13 seats (two seats, together with Berhampur and Malda South went to Congress) and made deep inroads in these districts that are mentioned to be Suvendu’s bastion (when he was in TMC).
However regardless of all this, why did the BJP resolve to subject Suvendu towards Mamata in Nandigram?
The reason being: He’s the one robust candidate who can contest towards Mamata due to his good presence in East Midnapore.
Solely time will inform who emerges a winner in Nandigram. What is obvious is that the one who loses will undergo a deep affect on the political profession not solely Bengal however in nationwide politics.