Farmer Leader Rakesh Tikait To Hold Mahapanchayat In Bengal’s Nandigram


Amid an intense Trinamool vs BJP quarrel over Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee getting injured last week, farmers’ leader Rakesh Tikait is visiting Bengal’s Nandigram today, where he will hold a mahapanchayat (public meeting). Ms Banerjee has filed her nomination from the assembly seat and will take on BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari, whose exit from the Trinamool last year triggered an exodus of leaders from the party.

Mr Tikait, who has been leading a massive farmers’ protest against the three central agriculture laws at the Delhi-UP border, was received in Kolkata by Trinamool MP Dola Sen.

Before departing for Nandigram, Mr Tikait – a critic of BJP-led central government over farm issues – met party leaders at Kolkata’s Mayo Road.

Ms Banerjee sustained injuries to her foot, head and chest last week when she was campaigning in Nandigram after filing her nomination papers. She had told reporters that four-five unknown people pushed her and shut the car door on her.

While the Trinamool Congress accused the BJP and the Election Commission of having a role in the matter, the opposition said it was an accident and Ms Banerjee was doing “drama” for sympathy votes.

The Election Commission earlier this week strongly reacted to Trinamool’s allegation that the “attack” took place a day after the removal of the Bengal police chief.

“It looks undignified to even respond to the allegations of all this being done at the behest of a particular political party,” the poll panel had said in its response.

The allegations virtually amounted to undermining the very foundation and fabric of the Constitution of India, said the powerful election body, asserting that the Commission “does not appropriate or take over the day-to-day governance of any state including West Bengal”.

Ms Banerjee was discharged from the hospital on Friday.

The Election Commission on Friday called a Bengal chief secretary report on the Nandigram episode “not comprehensive”.

The report had no mention of the “four-five persons”, who allegedly attacked her, an official of the state election office told news agency PTI. It, however, referred to the presence of a huge crowd at the spot, he added.

The eight-phased Bengal assembly election will begin on March 27. Counting will take place on May 2.

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