West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who tried cornering the BJP in the state by painting its leaders like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah as “outsiders” trying to siege power in Bengal, is facing an “Outsider” tag herself.

The insider-outsider debate surfaced after the Chief Minister made herself contest from Nandigram, where she is facing her erstwhile confidante, Suvendu Adhikari, who is now representing the BJP.

Over the last weeks, Suvendu—who won Nandigram in 2011 on Mamata’s behalf—repeatedly challenged the Chief Minister. His followers have adopted the ruling TMC’s “outsider” jab about the BJP against the CM herself in Nandigram, calling Suvendu “bhoomiputra” (son of the soil).

“I have heard some people are calling me an outsider in Nandigram. I am amazed. I was born and brought up in the neighbouring Birbhum district, and the person who is calling me an outsider was also not born here. Today I have become an outsider, and those coming from Gujarat have become insiders in Bengal,” Mamata said. “When the movement was on in Nandigram and there was Kali Puja at home, I did not go home. I stayed here to help the people,” the CM said.

Mamata also recited “Chandipath” as she launched her poll campaign for the Nandigram seat asserting that no one should dare to play ‘Hindu card’ against her. She further added that the people will make Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ‘April fool’ on the polling day.

“Those who are talking about 70:30 ratio should know that I read ‘Chandi path’ every morning before leaving home. I am the daughter of a Hindu family. Do not dare to play the Hindu card with me. I challenge them to have a competition with me in ‘Chandipath’,” said Banerjee while addressing a public meeting in Nandigram. She further chanted shlokas of ‘Chandipath’ on the stage.

The Assembly elections are being fought bitterly in West Bengal this time, with the BJP smelling a chance to wrest power in the state. No wonder the campaigning has seen leaders targeting each other viciously. On Monday, Mamata had targeted the Central leadership and said that “Prime Minister Narendra Modi will soon rename the country after his name”. She went on to say that “Amit Shah and PM Narendra Modi are two syndicate ministers who come to Bengal and speak canards and lies. I respect the chair of a Prime Minister but it is surprising to see a Prime Minister speaking lies”.

The elections in West Bengal will be held in eight phases from 27 March till 29 April. The counting of votes will take place on 2 May.

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