With 8 contenders, Nandigram has highest number of nominees in district
Contai: Besides being the high-profile battleground this poll season with Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee contesting from the constituency, Nandigram also has the highest number of candidates in East Midnapore district.
As many as eight candidates are contesting from Nandigram, including four Independent candidates. There are a total of 16 seats in East Midnapore. Seven candidates each from Panskura Purba, Tamluk, Moyna and Chandipur are contesting the polls.
Nandigram goes to polls on April 1 along with eight other Assembly constituencies — Tamluk, Panskura Purba, Panskura Paschim, Moyna, Nandakumar, Mahisadal, Haldia (SC), Chandipur — in the district. The last date to withdraw nomination was March 17.
Banerjee had filed her nomination on March 10 and was allegedly attacked in Nandigram on the same day. With immense support from the locals, Banerjee was surrounded by a sea of people when she marched 800 metres up to the SDO office at Haldia to file her nomination.
BJP's Suvendu Adhikari filed his nomination a couple of days after her. Union ministers, including Dharmendra Pradhan and Smriti Irani had attended his rally organised before filing his nomination at Haldia.
SUCI's candidate is Manoj Das, while Left-Congress-ISF alliance has fielded their youth leader Minakshi Mukherjee from the seat.
Nandigram also witnessed infighting in parties over candidature. Some disgruntled leaders chose to contest as Independents. The four Independent candidates from Nandigram are Sheikh Saddam Hossain, Swapan Parua, Dipak Kumar Gayen and Subrata Basu.
According to political leaders in the district, Saddam is the son of Nandigram's former CPI MLA Ilias Mohammad. As the alliance fielded CPI(M)'s Minakshi Mukherjee, Saddam is contesting as an Independent candidate.
The star candidates from other seats going to polls on April 1 are actor Soham Chakraborty from Chandipur and state Public Health Engineering minister Saumen Mahapatra from Tamluk. Both represent the TMC. Cricketer Ashok Dinda is contesting as BJP's candidate from Moyna.
"All eyes are set on Nandigram this time. The entire nation is keeping a watch on the constituency," said an official.