In a blow to Mamata Banerjee, the BJP has swept the election to a cooperative body in Nandigram, a former Trinamool Congress stronghold where the Bengal Chief Minister was defeated in 2021.
The BJP has won 11 of the 12 seats of the cooperative body Bhekutia Samabay Krishi Samity, which was earlier run by Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool. Only one seat went to the Trinamool in the election held on Sunday.
Last month, the Trinamool had won big in another part of Nandigram. The Trinamool had won 51 seats in Nandigram-2 Block, the CPM one and the BJP none. Mamata Banerjee’s party also swept the polls in Contai and Singur.
Both parties accused each other of violence in Sunday’s polls. The BJP accused the Trinamool of trying to bring in outsiders to disrupt voting. The Trinamool had the same charge for Suvendu Adhikari.
According to news agency PTI, a local panchayat samiti member, who said he belonged to the Trinamool, was seen on TV channels being manhandled by some women, who tore his shirt. He was rescued by the police.
Nandigram is the constituency of Suvendu Adhikari, Mamata Banerjee’s former aide, who ditched the Trinamool and joined the BJP months before the 2021 Bengal election.
Mamata Banerjee won the state election, becoming Chief Minister for the third time, but she lost a prestige battle to Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram, the district that contributed to her rise to power in Bengal.
“Nationalist greetings to all the Cooperative Society voters of Bhekutia Samabay Krishi Unnayan Samiti, of my Nandigram Constituency, for electing the BJP panel of directors. Victories like this pave the path for greater success in the future,” Mr Adhikari tweeted.
Her setback in the cooperative body polls in Nandigram has been projected by BJP leaders as a sign that she is losing her grip on key strongholds in Bengal.
However, Trinamool leaders pointed at the party’s win in the cooperative elections held last month in Nandigram at Hanubhunia, Gholpukur and Birulia. The BJP failed to win a single seat in those, the leaders said, calling it proof that the Trinamool is regaining territory where it lost in 2021.