Amid protests by state BJP leadership against the disqualification of actress-turned-politican Roopa Ganguly from contesting the Kolkata Municipal Corporation elections on April 18, the party officially announced on Sunday that actress Sharbari Mukherjee will replace Ganguly as the candidate for ward 96.
However, state BJP president Rahul Sinha maintained that they had not forsaken any rule earlier in the nomination of Roopa as a candidature for the KMC polls, and would not rule out moving the court over the issue if time permits.
“Any citizen of India can become a candidate from anywhere in the country. Just the name has to be transferred… Had there been time, we would have moved court but since there isn’t, we have decided to replace the candidate instead,” Sinha said, adding that Roopa Ganguly would be campaigning for most of the candidates for the upcoming civic elections.
Dismissing comments of MMiC Atin Ghosh and Mayor Sovan Chatterjee that BJP’s method of nomination of candidates was “childish”, Sinha said, “Those who had commented have been living under the Mamata Banerjee’s umbrella and working according to her wishes. They have no idea of the rules.”
The BJP chief also said that Roopa, before joining the BJP had tried several times to get her name enrolled in the voters’ list when she moved to south Kolkata, but failed. “Last year, before the Lok Sabha elections, her mother in Sonarpur had her name enroled in the voters’ list there,” Sinha said.
While Roopa called her disqualification as a political conspiracy of the TMC, her replacement Sharbari Chatterjee said she was confident about winning the election. “We are all faces of the party. Whoever is chosen has to do the same work of serving the people. My opponent is a seasoned politician but that only makes the competition more adventurous for me and prods me to put my heart and soul into it. I will go campaign with Roopa and share the victory with her.”
The BJP also declared to field Shaheen Jaffrey for the Muslim-dominated ward 62 for the elections.
Meanwhile, BJP supporters demonstrated in front of the BJP headquarters here, alleging that party tickets have been allotted against money. “These allegations are unfounded and I dont want to comment on these,” Sinha said.
Sources said that BJP Birbhum district president Dudh Kumar Mondal has stepped down from the post expressing his discontent over the selection of MLC polls candidates. Sinha, however, said he was not aware of it.
“Shaheen is a Commerce graduate and has been associated with BJP for a long time,” Sinha said.