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Friday, April 16, 2021

Denied ticket, Sovan quits BJP; others question list

Sovan Chatterjee, the former Mayor of Kolkata, decided to put in his papers after he was denied a ticket from Behala East constituency which he used to represent as a Trinamool Congress MLA.

Written by Santanu Chowdhury | Kolkata |
Updated: March 15, 2021 1:45:50 am
Sovan ChatterjeeSovan Chatterjee and Baisakhi Banerjee. (File Photo)

Hours after the BJP released its candidate list for the third and fourth phases of the West Bengal Assembly polls, old timers who were benched expressed their anguish for giving preference to new comers while some decided to quit the party. Supporters of some BJP leaders also held protest in various parts of the state.

BJP leader and TMC defector Sovan Chatterjee and his associate Baishakhi Banerjee have quit the saffron party after both were denied tickets. Chatterjee was expecting to be fielded from Behala Purba, which he had won in 2011 and 2016 as a TMC MLA. It was learnt that Chatterjee, in a letter to West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh, said he and Banerjee no longer wished to remain in the party. In a Facebook post, Banerjee said she had felt “humiliated” and asserted that “conspiracies and treachery” would not last long.

Addressing a press conference at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi, BJP general secretary Arun Singh along with Union ministers from West Bengal Babul Supriyo and Debasree Chaudhuri released the names of 63 candidates for the third and fourth phase of polls to be held on April 6 and 10.

BJP’s Alipurduar district president Ganga Prasad Sharma revolted against party candidates Ashok Lahiri (Alipurduar) and Bishal Lama (Kalchini) saying that the district leadership was not consulted before their selection. Lahiri, who retired as executive director of Asian Development Bank in June 2013, has served as Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India. “We were completely in dark about these candidates. We do not approve them. The party should have taken our opinion before selecting them,” said Sharma. He left in the middle of a meeting at a BJP party office in Alipurduar.

In Facebook post, former Hooghly district BJP president Subir Nag said he was “betrayed” and was quitting politics. Sources revealed he was not happy after BJP MP Locket Chatterjee was made the candidate from Chuchura. “Today I feel the party no longer requires my service. Therefore, I have decided to stay away from politics,” said Nag.

BJP workers protested after four-time TMC MLA and face of the Singur movement Rabindranath Bhattacharya, who joined the BJP last week after his name was missing from the TMC list, was given a ticket.

“Rabindranath Bhattacharya is a TMC leader, who joined the BJP after he was denied ticket by his party. And today, some of the central BJP leaders in collusion with Bhattacharya gave him party nomination. We will never accept it. The party has to change its decision,” a local BJP leader of Singur told the PTI news agency.

Protests were also held in various other constituencies after ticket aspirants did not find their names in the list.

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Shyampur is one such constituency where actress Tanushree Chakraborty, a newcomer in the BJP, was nominated. Angry BJP workers ransacked a party office in Panchla seat in Howrah district, where TMC defector Mohitlal Ghati was given the poll ticket.

State BJP general secretary Sayantan Basu said, “Well, the party cannot give ticket to everyone. Someone may not have got it. Expressing anger is understandable, but we will hold talks with them to sort out their issues.”

Minutes after he was fielded from Howrah Dakshin seat, Rantidev Sengupta refused to contest the election, saying he did not ask for the selection. A few hours later, he changed his decision after the party leadership convinced him.

After the TMC released its list of candidates, similar protests by ticket aspirants broke out across the state. Some of its leaders also quit the party.

(With PTI inputs)

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