In battleground Nandigram, ISF’s Abbas Siddiqui draws large crowd

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Nandigram is poised for a high-stakes battle between two heavyweights—West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her former protege Suvendu Adhikari who has switched over to the BJP.

However, the town witnessed a large crowd for another key player—Abbas Siddiqui, the Indian Secular Front (ISF) chief, who came here to drum up support for Minakshi Mukherjee, a 36-year-old first-time contestant who has been fielded by the Left-Congress-ISF alliance against CM Banerjee and Adhikari.

“I had no plans to visit Nandigram again, but here my younger daughter (Minakshi) is fighting bravely. So, I decided to come here again before the election,” Siddiqui said while addressing the gathering. ISF had organised a rally for their two candidates–Minakshi from Nandigram and Ashish Guchhait from Chandipur.

“We do not want to beg. We need work, we need employment. We want the youth to select his or her job as per their requirement and choice. After forming the United Front government, we will bring employment,” Siddiqui said while drawing loud cheers from the audience.

The ISF supremo further mounted an attack on CM Banerjee and accused her of creating friction within communities.

“Mamata Banerjee had allied with the BJP in 1998. She had promised BJP then that she would make space for BJP in the state. She divided us. Historically, CPM and Congress have fought against the BJP in the state. In 34 years of Left rule, we never faced any Hindu-Muslim confrontation,” Siddiqui said while appealing the gathering to vote for the United Front.

Nandigram will go to the polls in the second phase on April 1.

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