Suvendu Adhikari the strongman of Trinamool Congress, who played a major role in ousting CPI(M) from its bastion in Midnapore, is Mamata Banerjee’s choice for ‘good minister’ for her cabinet, if voted back to power.
He was the face of the movement against land acquisition to set up a chemical hub in Nandigram and was also chosen as the party’s lieutenant to assure fair results in the three districts of North Bengal. Being confident of his win in the Assembly elections, the party’s MP from Tamluk Parliamentary constituency talks about his plans for further development of Nandigram and his view on the present political scenario in Midnapore to Pritesh Basu.
How has the change of guard in the state benefited people of East Midnapore?
A: There has been an overall development of the area. The irrigation projects to assure sufficient water supply for agriculture has benefited farmers. Steps taken to minimise losses in cyclone prone area have helped people.
Moreover, the new face of Digha and Mandarmani has given a new lease of life to the tourism sector in West Bengal. People here and in other parts of the state are beneficiaries of schemes including Sabuj Sathi, Kanyashree and minority scholarship. Concrete roads have been constructed in villages and wooden bridges have been replaced with concrete ones.
Has political scenario in Midnapore changed?
A: Yes, there is a noticeable change. Till 2011, people here used to cast their votes in favour of Trinamool Congress to oust CPI(M) and now they are in our favour because of the development that has been brought by our government in the past four-and-a-half years.
Interestingly, East Midnapore is the district from where BJP had bagged the least percentage of votes in 2014 Lok Sabha election compared to other districts. Some youngsters from here had cast their votes in favour of BJP due to Modi wave that no more exists. A major percentage of this vote will swing in favour of Trinamool Congress this time as the youngsters too were immensely benefitted by the projects of the state government. Trinamool Congress was ahead in all the 16 Assembly constituencies in the last parliamentary elections. This time the margin of votes of our party will go up.
You are the party observer for three districts in North Bengal- Malda, North Dinajpur and Murshidabad. How will TMC perform in these three districts?
A: Trinamool Congress will bag many seats in these districts. If I recall, we had won in four seats in these districts in 2011 Assembly elections. The number of seats will definitely go up this time. We will come out with an unimaginable result in Murshidabad as people have witnessed development in the region.
Does the alliance between Congress and CPI(M) will leave any impact?
A: People have witnessed development in the past four-and-a-half years. Such alliance is nothing in front of the development work undertaken by the Trinamool Congress government.
You had been MP from Tamluk since 2009. Which are the projects that you would like to highlight that had been undertaken during this time period?
A: There was no supply of power in 2600 villages. The major task of electrifying each and every house was carried out. Submersible pumps were set up to ensure sufficient supply of safe drinking water.
What is your reaction on industrialisation in East Midnapore and is it possible to set up factory in Nandigram?
A: Industry is essential. Pollution free Industry is possible in Nandigram. There is no scope of setting up chemical industry here in Nandigram. In terms of East Mindapore, there had been an investment of around Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 crores in Haldia in the past one year.
You are the first candidate whose name was announced by Mamata Banerjee on December 21, 2015 in a progarmme at Tekhali in Nandigram. What was your feeling?
A: It’s nothing new to me. The party supremo Mamata Banerjee had announced my name as candidate from Tamluk parliamentary constituency 10 months ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in 2009.
She has also announced that you would be a good minister in her cabinet. If given a choice, which department would you choose?
A: See, this is the prerogative of the Chief Minister to decide. So I don’t want to comment on this.
What are your future plans for Nandigram?
A: Boro farming is not possible in Nandigram Block-I. So my target is to enhance irrigation for Boro farming by supplying sufficient water. Steps would be taken to set up a factory by Burn Standard Company Limited in Jellingham.