From party veterans to turncoats, from former IPS officer to actor — the first list of BJP with 28 candidates has it all, as it plans to take on the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal.
The list includes three newcomers from Trinamool Congress — two sitting MPs and a suspended youth leader. The suspended Youth Trinamool Congress leader joined BJP two months ago.
The list also includes a CPI(M) MLA, who has joined BJP, an IPS officer and four women candidates. However, Muslim candidates were conspicuous by their absence in the list.
Discontent was palpable among a small section of leaders and workers following the release of the list, with party vice-president Raj Kamal Pathak resigning and workers in Coochbehar vandalising a party office.
Pathak declared his resignation as his name was not in the list, while agitated workers in Coochbehar vandalised the party office demanding replacement of Nisith Pramanik (33), who joined BJP after he was suspended from Trinamool Congress. He used to hold the post of the district general secretary of Trinamool Youth Congress.
“I was ready to contest from any seat. However, the party ignored me. If senior leaders like us are ignored what message does the party give? I have resigned,” said Pathak.
“Our party has decided on the names. There are newcomers and there are veterans. All party members and workers should now try and make our candidates win. They should all accept the candidates and maintain party discipline,” said state BJP president Dilip Ghosh. “It is such a vast and varied list. In only one or two places workers are not satisfied. We will talk with those workers,” said BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha.
As expected Trinamool Congress MLA and strongman from Bhatpara Arjun Singh (56), who joined BJP, has been made a candidate from Barrackpur seat. Singh will take on Trinamool Congress heavyweight candidate and former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi.
Saumitra Khan (38), Trinamool Congress MP from Bishnupur, and Anupam Hazra (36), TMC MP from Bolpur who has recently joined BJP, have been fielded in the Bishnupur and Jadavpur seats respectively. Hazra will take on TMC’s Mimi Chakraborty, a Bengali actor and CPI(M) heavyweight former Mayor Bikas Ranjan Bhattacharya.
Khagen Murmu (58), a CPI(M) MLA from Malda’s Habibpur who joined BJP, will contest from Maldaha Uttar seat. He has been pitched against the nephew of Gani Khan Chowdhury and sitting MP, Mausam Benazir Noor, who defected from Congress to Trinamool Congress recently.
Bharati Ghosh (50), a former IPS officer, has been fielded from Ghatal seat, where she will take on Trinamool Congress candidate and Bengali actor, Dev. Ghosh, once close to Mamata Banerjee, has cases against her and recently joined BJP. She has served as the Superintendent of Police in Midnapore and BJP leaders believe it is a perfect seat for her.
Rahul Sinha (55), a senior party leader and national secretary, has been fielded from Kolkata Uttar. Sinha will take on Sudip Bandopadhyay, TMC stalwart and former chief whip for the party in Lok Sabha. Grand nephew of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Chandra Kumar Bose, will contest from Kolkata Dakshin against Trinamool Congress leader Mala Roy.
Party veterans like state president Dilip Ghosh (54) has been fielded from Mednipur, where he will take on TMC candidate and veteran politician, Manas Bhuniya. Ghosh is an MLA from Kharagpur. Party state general secretary Sayantan Basu (43) will contest from Bashirhat, where he will take on Bengali film actor Nusrat, who is TMC candidate. Samik Bhattacharya, party senior leader and spokesperson, will be contesting from Dumdum against veteran MP and politician, Sougata Roy of TMC.
Babul Supriyo (48), sitting MP from Asansol, will take on Moon Moon Sen, former actor and TMC candidate. Party leader Deboshree Chaudhury (48) has been fielded from Raiganj, where she will take on Md Selim of CPI(M) (sitting MP) and Deepa Dasmunshi (wife of late Union minister Priyaranjan Dasmunshi) of Congress.
Actor-turned-Mahila Morcha president Locket Chatterjee (45) will fight from Hooghly, taking on Ratna De Nag of TMC. BJP also fielded former national footballer Kalyan Choubey from Krishnanagar seat. Though BJP national president Amit Shah has pointed at 22-plus seats in Bengal, party leaders and workers believe it is an uphill task.