Footballers, singer, retired cricketer, actor, former judge and daughter of late BCCI chief Jagmohan Dalmiya are some of those who constitute the list of “important personalities” that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hopes will constitute the winning formula for the upcoming Assembly elections beginning April 4.
Mamata has fielded footballers Rahim Nabi and Baichung Bhutia, cricketer Lakshmi Ratan Shukla and actor Soham Chatterjee. Sources said the party hopes that fielding of “known” candidates who enjoy mass support base would be the key in capturing tough seats.
For instance, Shukla, who has been fielded from Howrah (North), had first approached Trinamool with his intention to join politics in November.
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“In Howrah (North), the population of Bihari migrants has increased BJP’s popularity. Shukla has been associated with Mamata since his days in the Kolkata Knight Riders… He was an obvious choice for the seat,” said a senior leader.
Another key inclusion, that of Baishali Dalmiya — daughter of Jangmohan Dalmiya from Bally — was much debated within the party, said sources.
“There were many who felt she didn’t had the necessary experience to actually contest elections and win. But finally, Didi (Mamata) decided that she should be given a chance.”
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In Darjeeling, Mamata, who has made frequent visits to the area, has challenged the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) by fielding rebel GJM MLA Harka Bahadur Chhetri from Kalimpong and former GNLF leader Shanta Chhetri from Kurseong.
“The party’s importance in the hills has increased in the past few years. Mamata Banerjee’s attention to the hills, something that previous governments had completely ignored, will be visible in these elections,” said a Trinamool spokesperson.
While popular Bengali singer Indranil Sen will contest from Chandannagore constituency instead of Ashoke Sahu, former Justice Janab Abdul Ghani will be the party’s candidate from Jagat Ballavpur — previously with Trinamool’s Abul Kashem Mollah.