Millennium Post

Singur, Nandigram vote today in WB rural polls

Singur and Nandigram, known for the intense protests against farmland acquisition that caused the ouster of the long entrenched Left Front government and propelled Mamata Banerjee to the chief minister’s chair, go to the hustings in the second phase of West Bengal panchayat polls on Monday.

The two rural hamlets would be part of the elections in 12,869 seats in the three-tier rural bodies spread over three districts - Hooghly, East Midnapore and Burdwan. While 95,25,320 voters are eligible to choose their representatives in the three districts covering 10,637 gram panchayats, 2047 panchayat samities and 185 zilla parishad seats, all eyes will be on Singur in Hooghly and East Midnapore’s Nandigram -- which gained national and international spotlight during the last lap of the Left Front’s rule.

In Nandigram, about 125 km from Kolkata, the LF regime’s plans to acquire 10,000 acres of land for a special economic zone (SEZ) triggered violent agitation spearheaded by Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress which eventually resulted in death of 14 farmers in police firing March 14, 2007.

The state government scrapped the project, but Trinamool rode on the anti-land acquisition protests to successfully woo large sections of the rural masses -- for so long aligned with the Left Front -- and made substantial gains in the 2008 panchayat elections. Keeping up the momentum, the Trinamool later swept the Lok Sabha and assembly polls in the area. The LF spearhead Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) now looks only a ghost of its former formidable self in the belt.
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