Two sitting MPs, one MLA, a Trinamool Congress (TMC) Lok Sabha aspirant from South Delhi constituency in 2014, and a former IPS officer once perceived to be close to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee — one in every five candidates in the BJP’s first list in West Bengal has a non-BJP past.
Six of the 29 candidates announced have joined BJP in recent past.
Soumitra Khan, BJP candidate from Bishnupur constituency, was elected on a TMC ticket in 2014. Just before the Lok Sabha elections that year, Khan, then a Congress MLA, had crossed over to TMC after voting for the party’s nominee in Rajya Sabha elections. Since his recent switch, Khan has given a speech in Parliament slamming the TMC — amid protests from his erstwhile party colleagues, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had asked him to speak from the Treasury benches.
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Anupam Hazra, his colleague in Lok Sabha, now has a celebrity rival — the former Bolpur MP will take on actor Mimi Chakraborty (TMC) in high-profile Jadavpur constituency.
Sreerupa Mitra Chowdhury, BJP’s Maldaha Dakshin aspirant, had fought the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from South Delhi on a TMC ticket — and like the other four Delhi seats where the party had fielded candidates, fared miserably.
Former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh is set to take on Bengali superstar Deepak Adhikari — or Dev, as he is known — in Ghatal. On Thursday, Adhikari tweeted that Ghosh played a crucial part in development work in the district as the SP there. Ghosh was seen as close to Mamata until the Saradha chit fund scam emerged.
Arjun Singh, former TMC MLA from Bhatpara, will meanwhile take on sitting MP Dinesh Trivedi in Barrackpore. Singh left the TMC despite hectic last-minute parleys to retain him.
The unlikeliest inclusion in the BJP list is perhaps former CPI(M) MLA from Habibpur, Khagen Murmu, who also joined the saffron party recently.