Updated: March 19, 2021 9:23:13 am
Senior BJP leaders Mukul Roy and Rahul Sinha were among the 148 candidates named by the party on Thursday for the last four phases of West Bengal Assembly elections. With over a dozen TMC turncoats getting tickets, the release of the candidates’ list triggered a fresh round of protests by BJP workers in several districts. Some party office bearers also resigned in protest.
BJP workers vandalised party offices in Malda, Jalpaiguri, North 24-Parganas and Paschim Bardhaman districts over the selection of candidates. Party workers also demanded change in the candidate at Pandabeshwar, Jagaddal, Durgapur Purba, Jalpaiguri and Harishchandrapur Assembly constituencies.
BJP leader and party’s observer for Asansol, Sourav Sikdar, resigned from all party posts after he was denied a ticket. He accused the party leadership of humiliating old-timers.
In north Bengal, nomination to former TMC leader Mihir Goswami kicked off a wave of protests with BJP activists staging protests and road blockades.
Meanwhile, Mukul Roy will be entering the electoral fray after two decades. The former TMC leader has been fielded by BJP from Krishnanagar North constituency in Nadia district to take on TMC candidate and actor Koushani Mukherjee. Roy had last contested the 2001 Assembly polls on a TMC ticket, and had lost.
Former state BJP chief Rahul Sinha, who is yet to taste success in any of the elections he has contested so far, has been fielded from Habra against the state Food Supplies Minister Jyotipriyo Mullick. BJP has also nominated party MP Jagannath Sarkar for Santipur.
Other notable names included former BJP MLA Samik Bhattacharya from Rajarhat-Gopalpur, state vice-president Raju Banerjee from Kamarhati against TMC heavyweight Madan Mitra, TMC turncoats Sabyasachi Dutta (Bidhannagar), Shilbhadra Dutta, Jitendra Tiwari, Sunil Singh, Subhrangshu Roy, Baishali Dalmia, Mihir Goswami among others.
Bengali actor Rundranil Ghosh, who recently joined the BJP, has been fielded from Bhabanipur constituency in Kolkata which was won by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee last time. State BJP Mahila Morcha president and fashion designer Agnimitra Paul (Asansol Dakshin), actor Parno Mitra, Bengali folk singer Asim Sarkar were also given tickets. The party has also fielded Bengali actor Srabanti Chatterjee from Behala Paschim against heavyweight TMC leader and state education minister Partha Chatterjee.
Former footballer Kalyan Choubey has been fielded from Maniktola in Kolkata.
The party has also given tickets to the family members of leaders killed in alleged incidents of political violence. Chandima Roy, the wife of former TMC MLA Debendranath Roy who was found hanging from the shed of a tea stall in July 2020 after he joined BJP, has been fielded from Hemtabad.
Chandramani Shukla, father of Manish Shukla who was shot last October, has been fielded from Barrackpore against TMC candidate and film director Raj Chakraborty.
Besides, the party also announced its candidates for eight constituencies that will vote in the fourth phase. Also, it dropped noted economist Ashok Lahiri from Alipurduar after its district unit president Ganga Prasad Sharma quit against Lahiri’s nomination. The party has replaced Lahiri with Suman Kanjilal.
Out of the total 294 Assembly seats, BJP has so far has announced its candidates in 282 seats, while leaving one seat for AJSU. The names of candidates for the remaining 11 seats will be announced later, party leaders said.
BJP fields Somen’s wife, she says: Not joining your party
In an embarrassment to BJP, Sikha Mitra, the wife of late Congress leader Somen Mitra, said she was surprised to find her name in the BJP list. She has been named as a BJP candidate from Chowringhee. “I come from Congress background and it is unthinkable for me to join BJP. Suvendu Adhikari had come to my house to persuade me to join the BJP. I had declined. I don’t know why my name is in the BJP list,” she said.
Also, Tarun Saha, the husband of TMC MLA Mala Saha, expressed surprise over his name in the BJP list. “My wife is very much with the TMC. I have not joined the BJP. Therefore, there is no question of me contesting the election for the BJP,” said Saha, who has been fielded by the BJP from his wife’s constituency –Kashipur-Belgachia.
Reacting to it, senior BJP leader Rahul Sinha said, “Those who were given the responsibility to talk to these persons did not do their job properly. The party will definitely look into this.” ENS
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