Firebrand BJP leader and Union minister Giriraj Singh has hit back at TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee over her 'gotra' remark made in Nandigram just ahead of the polling. Singh said that Mamata is scared of losing and therefore resorting to such tactics.
"Mamata Banerjee is scared of losing...that's why she is using the gotra card," he told news agency ANI.
"Mamata Didi, now it is to be found out whether the gotra of Rohingyas and the infiltrators is Shandilya or not. Those who settled Rohingyas for votes, those who stopped Durga puja and Kali puja and humiliated the Hindus, now descended on the gotra in feat of defeat. Shandilya gotra is dedicated to Sanatan and the nation, not for the vote," he tweeted.
On the last day of campaigning for the second phase polling, Mamata who is in fray from Nandigram against BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari, played the 'gotra' card to woo the Hindu voters. The CM told the crowd that she belonged to the 'Shandilya' gotra. The 'Shandilya' gotra is one of the eight highest Brahmin gotras.
Addressing an election rally in Nandigram, Mamata said that when she visited a temple here, the priest asked her about the 'gotra'. "I told him 'Maa Maati Manush'. That reminded me of my visit to Tripura's Tripureshwari temple where too the priest had asked my 'gotra' and I told him 'Maa Mati Manush'," she said, adding that "Actually I am 'Shandilya'."
Nandigram is witnessing a high-stakes prestige battle between Banerjee and her aide-turned-rival Adhikari. Adhikari, who had quit TMC last December, is now fighting on a BJP ticket. More than a political fight, the battle for Nandigram has turned into one of prestige and has assumed the proportions of a personal fight to decide who owns the legacy of the Nandigram movement.
Adhikari spearheaded the anti-land-acquisition movement in Nandigram in 2007. He was an MLA at that time. He helped the Trinamool Congress dislodge the 34-year Left Front government in West Bengal 2011.
In the 2009 general elections, Adhikari won from Tamluk. In 2014, he was re-elected to Lok Sabha from Tamluk. He, however, resigned in 2016 after winning the Assembly polls from Nandigram and was made Transport Minister.
Banerjee, who represented Bhowanipore seat in the Assembly since 2011, decided to contest from Nandigram after Adhikari's exit from the TMC.
Polling in Nandigram will take place in the second phase on April 1.