Kolkata | Jagran Politics Desk: The Nandigram assembly constituency has caught the eyes of political experts and has been touted as the deciding seat for assembly elections in West Bengal this year because Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee is battling against her former aide and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Suvendu Adhikari.

Once considered to be a stronghold for the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Nandigram seat was first won by the TMC in 2009 by-elections. However, it was in 2016 when Suvendu Adhikari strengthened TMC's control over Nandigram by winning the seat with more than 81,000 votes.

However, Adhikari changed the political equation of Nandigram, which was the cradle of the anti-land acquisition movement that helped Mamata Banerjee come to power in West Bengal in 2011, by joining the BJP in presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah in December last year. After joining the BJP, Adhikari called Amit Shah his 'elder brother' and stressed that he cannot stay in the TMC which has continuously 'humiliated' him.

"PM Modi has shown that he can fulfil promises. He has shown his might in UP. I have got a lot of love and respect from the BJP as compared to what I have got in TMC. BJP leaders have done more for me than TMC has. I will fulfil all the wishes of Bengal and its people," he had said.

Looking at the situation, Banerjee, who has been contesting the West Bengal elections from Bhabanipur, has decided to field herself from the high-profile Nandigram seat. Banerjee, who is seeking her third straight term, has expressed confidence that she will return to power and will wipe out the BJP from West Bengal.

However, Adhikari, who was once considered as Banerjee's right-hand man, has claimed that he will by more than 50,000 votes against the TMC supremo in Nandigram. Adhikari is also buoyed by the BJP's success in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls when the saffron party won 18 of 42 parliamentary seats, giving a jolt to TMC.

The polling in Nandigram was held in the second phase of assembly elections in West Bengal on April 1. Whether Adhikari will be able to retain this high-octane seat would be announced by the election commission on May 2. The EC had earlier said that Nandigram this year had recorded a voter turnout of 88 per cent.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma