West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday afternoon made her first public appearance after her injury. Observing Nandigram Diwas, Banerjee, seated in a wheelchair, took part in a procession, before making a speech where she stated that “an injured tiger is far more dangerous”.
Sitting in a wheelchair that was pushed by her security personnel, the West Bengal CM led the procession along a 5 km route from the Gandhi statue in the Maidan to the Hazra Road intersection located close to her home at Kalighat in south Kolkata. She had been driven down to the Maidan in a car.
Addressing a large crowd at Hazra Park after the hour-long march, Banerjee further said that attempts to incapacitate her and stop her from campaigning have failed, and asserted she will canvass for TMC candidates across the state even in a wheelchair. «I have passed through many battles but I have never bowed my head. I am in pain. The doctors prescribed bed-rest for 15 days. But if I take rest, who will reach out to the people of Bengal? In that case the conspirators will succeed,” she said.
Banerjee also mentioned the head injury she suffered at Hazra 21 years ago, referring to the 1990 incident where Banerjee, who was set to lead a youth Congress agitation at Hazra, was assaulted by Lalu Alam, a CPI(M) youth wing worker.
Without addressing her prime adversary in the upcoming elections, the BJP, and reiterating the TMC’s popular poll slogan “Khela Hobe” (let’s play), she said, “Let good prevail over evil. Have faith in me. I will move around in Bengal with my broken leg. Let’s play. A wounded tiger is more dangerous than a dead tiger.”
The CM added that she would leave immediately for the districts. «I don’t have much time to talk. I have to leave for Durgapur immediately. I have a programme in Purulia tomorrow. We have lost 5-6 days. During elections even a second matters a lot,” she said.
Banerjee attended the event in Kolkata to pay homage to the 14 villagers of Nandigram who died in the police firing on March 14, 2007, which marked the beginning of a long agitation against the acquisition of farmland by the Left Front government in West Bengal.
She also took to Twitter and attacked opposition parties in a series of tweets. «We will continue to fight boldly! I›m still in a lot of pain, but I feel the pain of my people even more. In this fight to protect our revered land, we have suffered a lot and will suffer more but we will NEVER bow down to COWARDICE!»
Earlier in the day, the Election Commission said that the injury caused to Banerjee in Nandigram was not a result of an attack, as per the findings of the state›s Observers and Chief Secretary.
The Bengal BJP also wrote to the Chief Electoral Officer, demanding that CM Mamata Banerjee’s treatment history at SSKM hospital be made public. The letter read, “It’s necessary that the truth be brought out before the public so that staged incidents don’t repeat to deceive the masses and manipulate their voting choices.”