Kolkata: A historic day, a landmark day, a day the world will remember. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee almost ran out of adjectives while describing 'Singur Divas' - September 14 - the day she fulfilled her promise made 10 years ago to return land to the farmers of Singur.
"This is a victory of the people of Singur and maa maati manush," Ms Banerjee said from a giant stage set up on Durgapur expressway outside the walls of the Tata Motors Nano factory which is now abandoned.
Since 2010, when the previous CPM government gave almost 100 acres of land to Tata Motors, Mamata Banerjee has fought against the acquisition. On August 31, the Supreme Court ruled that the acquisition was fraudulent and today Ms Banerjee began the process of returning land to the farmers of Singur.
However, with Mamata Banerjee's second stint as chief minister, unemployment is an issue and she used the mega rally to issue an invitation to the Tatas to set up an auto plant elsewhere in the state. "Because of stubbornness at Singur, Tata Babu could not open the factory here. But they should be sporting. We are sporting. Today, I am offering them 1,000 acres of land at Goaltore to open an auto factory. Even BMW can come. Please inform my finance minister within a month," she said.
An ambulance siren interrupted her. It was stuck in a sea of people, who had come for the mega rally. Mamata Banerjee urged the gathering to let it pass.
"This was a festival to chase away industry," CPM legislator Sujan Chakraborty said. For the Left, the Singur episode has been a deep embarrassment.
Ms Banerjee's supporters, however, braved traffic snarls to reach the venue. "Now she has returned Singur land. In 2019, she will be Prime Minister," said Bapi Das, a Trinamool supporter, as his friend echoed him and shouted "Mamata Banerjee Zindabad".
Ten years ago, few people would have confidently said Singur would come full circle.