Profs, stars to ex-Naxals: TMC line-up for elections

Trinamool Congress Friday announced the candidate list, which includes 106 nominees fielded in at least 13 states.

The list includes candidates like Professor Sugata Bose, Gardiner Chair of Oceanic History and Affairs at Harvard University, Tollywood stars Dev, Moon Moon Sen and Sandhya Roy, footballer Baichung Bhutia on one hand, and on the other, the party has fielded candidates like Kameshwar Baitha and Bandhu Tirkey, both of whom have more than dozen criminal cases lodged against them.

Of the five candidates fielded by TMC in Jharkhand, the candidatures of Baitha from Palamau and Tirkey from Ranchi, have triggered controversy.

While Baitha, who according to police sources used to hold the post of zonal commander of the CPI (Maoists) in Jharkhand, Tirkey is reportedly under the scanner of central investigative agencies in corruption cases.

Baitha is the current MP of Palamau. He was a member of Jhakhand Mukti Morcha. Baitha joined TMC this year and became a candidate from the same seat.

There are at least 35 criminal cases against Baitha, with serious charges, including 17 murders, 22 attempted murders, 6 assault cases with dangerous weapons, 5 thefts and 2 extortions, among others. Baitha is a known explosives expert. He won the 2009 elections while lodged in jail on a JMM ticket.

Similarly, questions are being raised on the candidature of Tirkey being fielded from Ranchi. Tirkey has at least 10 cases against him.

Tirkey was a leader of Jharkhand Janandhikar Mancha before joining TMC in 2014. The choice of candidates caused Left Front chair Biman Bose to raise eyebrows. “We would not have raised questions if there were only accusations against Baitha. But he has served jail term, which means he was convicted. How can he be given ticket to fight elections,” said Bose.