28 Mar 2024

Lok Sabha Elections-2024: Unraveling BJP's Choice: Rekha Patra's Journey from Sandeshkhali to Candidacy

In a surprising move, the BJP has nominated Rekha Patra as its candidate for the Basirhat parliamentary seat, drawing attention to her emergence from Sandeshkhali. This decision has left many wondering about the motives behind her selection.

Patra's Rise from Sandeshkhali

Patra gained prominence following her involvement in the movement against Sandeshkhali incident, where she bravely lodged a complaint of sexual harassment against Shiv Prasad, a close aide of a local Trinamool Congress leader, Shahjahan Shaikh. Her active participation in protests against alleged atrocities by Trinamool Congress leaders propelled her into the spotlight, eventually making her the face of the movement.

PM Modi's Endorsement

Prime Minister Modi's endorsement of Patra further solidified her position within the BJP. He personally spoke to her, acknowledging her role in the movement and addressing her as "Shaktiswarupa," indicating his recognition of her strength and resilience.

Rekha is also believed to have been part of the group that met Modi on the sidelines of his public meeting in Barasat on March 6 and related the plight of Sandeshkhali women to the PM. Rekha is one of the very few people who received a call from PM Modi after getting candidature.

Behind the Scenes

However, the decision to nominate Patra wasn't without its controversies. Speculation surrounds the circumstances leading to her candidacy, with some suggesting that it was a strategic move by the BJP to capitalize on the local sentiment against Trinamool Congress. Opposition leader Subhendu Adhikari's recommendation and subsequent approval by the central leadership further fueled discussions about the party's intentions.

Patra's candidacy faced opposition

However, as soon as Rekha's name was announced, posters were put up against her in many areas of Sandeshkhali overnight. It is written in these posters, "We do not want Rekha as BJP candidate."

In another poster it is written that the agitating people of Sandeshkhali do not want Rekha Patra.

BJP is holding Trinamool Congress responsible for this. Tapas Ghosh, president of the party's Basirhat district committee, says, "There is no opposition to Rekha. Trinamool Congress is doing all this under petty politics."

But Sandeshkhali's Trinamool Congress MLA Sukumar Mahato says, "Rekha, who took to the streets in Sandeshkhali, got the ticket. Therefore the old party workers are angry and are putting up posters against Rekha."

Mixed Reactions

While Patra's nomination has sparked controversy, it has also garnered support from some quarters, particularly among women in the village. They see her candidacy as a chance to amplify their voices and address issues affecting their community on a national platform.

As Rekha Patra steps into the political arena, her journey from Sandeshkhali to candidacy underscores the complexities of local politics and the challenges faced by grassroots activists transitioning into mainstream politics. Whether her candidacy will lead to meaningful change or further polarize the community remains to be seen.

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