After Mamata Banerjee, the EC has sent a notice to her rival in Nandigram, and her erstwhile colleague Suvendu Adhikari. Like the Chief Minister, Suvendu too is accused of communal appeasement. And just like Mamata, her rival Suvendu too is not perturbed about the notice.
Anyhow, it does not matter if the EC takes some extreme step against Suvendu and debars him from campaigning for a few days. The Adhikari family‘s influence zone is in East and West Medinipur districts, and polling in those districts are over. Suvendu has organisational influence in a few other districts of South Bengal, but EC cannot stop one from doing organisational work.
Suvendu has been served the notice for his speech delivered on 29th of March. On that day he told a gathering: “The begum is contesting here against us. … Don’t vote for the Begum. If you vote for the Begum, a mini-Pakistan will be created. A Dawood Ibrahim will appear in your area. What festival is coming next? Ram Navami. Which flower Ramchandra offered to worship Ma Durga? That is why it is incumbent upon you to vote for the lotus. On the first phase of polling, the voters have voted against appeasement. You know what appeasement is.” The notice has been served for using words like ‘Begum’ and ‘mini Pakistan’ and seeking votes in the name of Ma Durga.”
Suvendu had joined the BJP in December. Before that, for two decades he was in the TMC. Even before that, when this 50-year-old politician started his career, he was with Congress and was elected a councillor of Contai Municipality. His father and grandfather were in Congress too. But, from the beginning of his inning in polarisation in his favour.
In a way, Suvendu has demonstrated the politicians are not secular or Hindutvawadi at their core. They mould it according to the party they are in. He has become a Hindutva icon in the BJP in just four months, and now the speculation about him is whether he will be the CM or the deputy CM.
The Election Commission has sent notice to Suvendu Adhikari to make the polity cleaner. But the insiders in BJP feel this notice will help Suvendu further grow in stature in the party, particularly as he is served notice for his Hindutvawadi rant. So, Suvendu’s close circle is not at all unhappy about this notice.
(The author Diptendra Raychaudhuri is a senior journalist based in Kolkata. He has a wide range of experience in covering West Bengal politics and has authored several books)