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Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee announced the first list of her party’s candidates for the Lok Sabha elections on Wednesday. The list of LS nominees includes actors, celebrity academicians, footballers and musicians.
Banerjee also announced she was incorporating several suggestions by activist Anna Hazare while formulating the TMC’s election manifesto which would be released shortly.
Abhisekh Banerjee, Mamata's nephew and the head of Trinamool Yuva, will be the candidate from Diamond Harbour, a constituency that Somen Mitra (who recently migrated to Congress) held till recently.
Among the star candidates are Tollywood actor Deb (Ghatal), former actor Sandhya Roy (Midnapore), Suchitra Sen's daughter Moon Moon Sen (Bankura), former Indian footballer Baichung Bhutia (Darjeeling) and former footballer Prasun Banerjee (Howrah). Saumitra Roy of Bengali music band Bhoomi and singer Indranil Sen are two other candidates.
Banerjee also nominated Sugato Bose, professor of history at Harvard University, for the Jadavpore seat, where Kabir Suman is the present MP.
Film star of yesteryears, Biswajit Chatterjee, is also being considered as the Trinamool candidate from Delhi.
"Before releasing our manifesto, we will consult Anna Hazare. We have already taken his opinions and incorporated many of those," the Trinamool chief said while releasing the first list at her residence.
Besides West Bengal, she announced candidates for Jharkhand (two), Tripura (two) and Manipur (one).
Among those re-nominated in Bengal were Sishir Adhikari, Suvendu Adhikari, Saugata Roy, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Subrata Bakshi, Prasun Banerjee, Kalyan Banerjee, Satabdi Roy, Tapas Pal, Ratna De Nag, Sultan Ahmed, Dinesh Trivedi, Haji Nurul Islam and Sudip Banerjee.
Bengal has 42 Lok Sabha constituencies. There are 11 female candidates (28% of the list) and 12 SC/ST candidates in the Trinamool list.
Unlike her traditional political opponents, the Left, Mamata has always banked on star power to win the battle for the ballot.
"I need economic reforms and farmer friendly policies," said Mamata before announcing the list. She also said her party did not have enough funds to fight the polls across the country.