Discontent is brewing in the Trinamool Congress (TMC) after it dropped 27 MLAs, including ministers Amit Mitra, Purnendu Basu and Rabindranath Bhattacharya, from the list and introduced 114 new faces.
After Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee released the list of 291 candidates, many leaders criticised the party for sidelining them, and protests broke out at various places.
Sensing rebellion, Banerjee at a press conference on Friday said the leaders who were dropped because of age or other reasons would be accommodated in the proposed Legislative Council or given organisational work.
Some of the veteran TMC leaders who could not find their names in the list included finance minister Mitra; ministers Basu and Bhattacharya; former deputy Assembly speaker Sonali Guha; and veteran MLAs Braja Majumder, Jatu Lahiri and Manish Gupta.
Bhattacharya’s Singur seat, closely associated with the TMC’s rise to power, has gone to state minister Becharam Manna.
A TMC party source said the son of Bhattacharya was in touch with the BJP for a ticket from the constituency. “Mastermashai (Bhattacharya) has a clean image, and the party has to pay a price for that,” the source said.
Four-time Satgachia MLA Guha, once a close associate of Banerjee, burst into tears after learning that she was denied a ticket. “May God give Mamata-didi good sense and counsel, I have been with her from the beginning,” said Guha.
Supporters of Rafiqur Rahaman, TMC’s Amdanga MLA in North 24 Parganas, blocked the highway after his name did not appear in the list.
A section of the TMC’s Siliguri leadership also took exception to Omprakash Mishra, a Kolkata resident, being made a candidate from the north Bengal town. TMC leader Nantu Pal said that the people would not support “an outsider”.
Former TMC MLA Arabul Islam, a strongman from Bhangar in South 24 Parganas district, broke down in tears as he said that those who have loved the party with their heart were ignored. “I will do whatever the local people want me to do,” he said about his future plans, as some of his supporters burnt tyres and put up roadblocks in the area in protest. “Those who have sacrificed more for the party were not honoured… The people of Bhangor will answer to this (insult).”
Another TMC leader, Mainuddin Sams from Nalhati, resiged from the party after his name did not feature in the list.
“This is very unfortunate. In the last five years, I have not helped corrupt leaders, and this is the reward. So, I am resigning from the party,” he said.
Earlier in the day, CM Banerjee said, “We have exclude many names. We did not field those above 80 years of age because of Covid-19. We will use them in other party work. We have a mix of new and old faces, and to fulfill this, we were forced to exclude more names. There are some local problems too. But we have tried our best to accomodate all candidates. After the win, we will make Bidhan Parishad this time and will accomodate senior leaders.”
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