Modes of industrialisation -- the main issue on which the elections were fought in West Bengal (more specifically in Kolkata)
Revenge complete, cry for peace and lost land
Nandigram/Singur, May 16: Left a widow by “CPM goons”, Sayra Biwi will whisper a few words of thanks when she kneels down to pray tonight.
“My revenge is complete,” said the 33-year-old, a mother of four, as news of Trinamul Congress candidate Subhendu Adhikary’s victory over the CPM’s Lakshman Seth in Tamluk reached Nandigram’s Bainchabari village.
“Now we can hope there will be peace here after all.”
Sayra’s husband had been killed during the CPM’s “recapture” of Nandigram in November 2007. Today, she played with abir outside her home.
“I have been left to bring up my four children on my own, but at least the CPM goons who killed my husband have been defeated,” she said. “When I pray today, I will thank the Almighty for all that He has done for us.”
If Nandigram, in East Midnapore, celebrated, so did villages in Singur, where the land war began.
But unlike in Singur, part of the Hooghly Lok Sabha seat that Trinamul’s Ratna Dey Nag won and where many hope that their land will now be returned, all that the villagers in Nandigram want is peace.
Nearly 1,000 pro-Trinamul villagers, who fled CPM strongholds and took shelter in Maheshpur High School after being terrorised by party workers for “daring” to vote, want to return to their homes.
“We expect Trinamul will ensure peace so that we don’t have to flee our homes any longer,” said Sheikh Saidul Ali, 23, a farm labourer from Satengabari.
Ali had left home on May 8 morning with wife Jahanara and one-year-old son. It was the third time he had to flee since the Red Army’s November 2007 assault.
“I feel happy that the party that stood by us during our agitation against land acquisition has won,” said Abhijit Samanta, 32, who was injured in the March 2007 police firing. “To start with, it can bring peace in Nandigram.”
Trinamul’s victory also meant a change in menu for those stranded in the refugee camp at Maheshpur.
“For the past eight days we have been living on rice, pumpkin curry and dal. Today, for the first time, we were served rohu fish for lunch. Trinamul leaders came and distributed sweets,” said Sheikh Aksar Ali, 35, who lives in Ranichak.
In Singur, Trinamul supporters burst crackers as victory processions wound their way through Beraberi, Ghoshpara, Sahanapara, Saterbheri and Bajemelia. But for the villagers, uppermost on their mind was the return of the land taken over for the Tata Motors project. “We want our land back,” said one as others nodded.
“We want our new MP to ensure that,” said Paramita Das, 43, a housewife in Beraberi whose four-bigha land had been acquired.
“We are farmers,” said Haripada Das, 65, another landloser. “We feel helpless without our land. We don’t need factories in Singur.”