This Article is From Mar 14, 2021

"Khela Hobe": Farmer Leader Raises Trinamool Poll Slogan In Nandigram

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

Rakesh Tikait has been leading a protest against Centre's agriculture laws (File)


Amid an intense Trinamool vs BJP fight over Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee getting injured last week, farmers' leader Rakesh Tikait addressed a mahapanchayat (public meeting) in Bengal's Nandigram today. "Don't vote for the BJP." he appealed to people of the state from the assembly constituency, where Ms Banerjee will take on Suvendu Adhikari, whose exit from the Trinamool Congress last year triggered an exodus of leaders from the party.

"For around 110 days, more than five lakh farmers are sitting at the borders of Delhi. Khela hobe (game on), khela. When the government of India is not scared of over 5 lakh people at the Delhi borders who have built permanent houses on the roads there, imagine what games will be played by the government and what will happen in Bengal," Rakesh Tikait said as the crowd roared in Bengali "Khela Hobe" - the catchphrase made popular by the Trinamool Congress ahead of the Bengal polls.

"This is my message to the people of Bengal. The (BJP-led) central government has looted the country...don't vote for them (BJP). If they come to you seeking votes, ask them: when will we get our MSP (minimum support price)," he said.

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

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

Calling the alleged attack on Ms Banerjee unfortunate, he said he will travel across Bengal to campaign against the BJP. He, however, said he was not in Bengal to seek vote for any party.

Ms Banerjee sustained injuries to her foot, head and chest last week while campaigning in Nandigram after filing her nomination papers. She 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 declared 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.