PM Modi speaks with Sandeshkhali victim and BJP candidate Rekha Patra: ’Shakti swaroopa’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Sandeshkhali victim and BJP's Basirhat candidate Rekha Patra 'Shakti swaroopa'.

Akriti Anand
Updated26 Mar 2024
Sandeshkhali victim and BJP's Basirhat candidate Rekha Patra; Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Sandeshkhali victim and BJP’s Basirhat candidate Rekha Patra; Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Rekha Patra, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate and victim of the Sandeshkhali violence. PM Modi called Patra and lauded her as ‘Shakti Swaroopa’, news agency ANI reported.

Shakti is a term in Hinduism, associated with goddesses like Durga and Kali.

PM Modi spoke to Patra about her campaign preparations, support among people for the BJP and more. Meanwhile, Patra detailed the ordeals faced by women in Sandeshkhali, the report added.

Rekha Patra will contest the Lok Sabha elections 2024 on a BJP ticket from Basirhat in West Bengal. The BJP candidate had raised her voice against the alleged atrocities by local Trinamool Congress (TMC) strongman Shajahan Sheikh and his associates.

There were allegations of sexual atrocities on women and land grabbing against Sheikh and his cohorts.

Sandeshkhali is a village in the Basirhat subdivision, which falls under the North 24 Parganas district. Basirhat, one of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal, is currently represented by the TMC.

Sheikh and some of his associates were arrested in connection with an attack on Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials and are in Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) custody.

Sheikh was suspended by the TMC in connection with allegations against him.

Who is Rekha Patra?

Rekha Patra is an alleged victim of torture at the hands of arrested and now-suspended TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh and his aides, news agency PTI reported.

She was among the most vocal protestors of Sandeshkhali. The police arrested Shibu Hazra, a local muscleman and Shajahan Sheikh's associate, based on her complaint.

Patra is also believed to have been part of the group that met PM Modi on the sidelines of his public meeting in Barasat on March 6 and narrated the plight of Sandeshkhali women to the PM.

The BJP had earlier shared a picture of Patra participating in Sandeshkhali Aandolan with her child in her arms.


Voices in favour and against Rekha Patra

According to PTI, handwritten posters appeared in a few places in the Sandeshkhali area, denouncing the candidature of BJP Lok Sabha poll nominee Rekha Patra.

Posters bearing slogans such as “We don't want Rekha as a candidate” and “We don't want Rekha Patra as BJP candidate” were found on Monday, a day after the BJP announced her nomination from the seat.

The BJP pointed fingers at the TMC for this, while the ruling party of West Bengal rejected the charge. A local BJP leader was quoted by PTI as saying, “Those posters were not ours. The Trinamool Congress has done this to indulge in cheap politics.”

Several women in the locality are happy that Patra got the nomination to contest the election. "We could not see an MP in the past. Now we may have an MP from our village," one of the local women said.

(With inputs from agencies)


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