Bengal polls: JMM, NCP have declared support for Trinamool, says Mamata
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said on Friday her Trinamool Congress (TMC) had recently received support from the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) for the upcoming state assembly elections. "After the RJD, SP and Shiv Sena, the TMC has received support from the JMM and NCP for Bengal assembly poll," Banerjee was quoted by news agency PTI.
The JMM is Jharkhand's ruling party and the NCP is part of Maharashtra's ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance along with the Shiv Sena, who have also declared their support for Banerjee. Both had defeated the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in their respective states to win power.
The West Bengal chief minister’s comments came as she announced 291 candidates for the state's 294 seats and that she will be contesting from Nandigram and her party colleague Sovandeb Chattopadhyay will fight from Bhowanipore. "We are releasing the list of 291 candidates, out of which 50 candidates are women and 40 candidates are from the Muslim community … In three constituencies in north Bengal, the TMC’s candidates will not be contesting,” Banerjee was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Banerjee is likely to come up against her former ally and current BJP member Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram. She said that she will visit Nandigram on March 9 and file her nomination from Haldia on March 10.
WATCH | Suvendu Adhikari Vs CM Mamata in Nandigram
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav had met Banerjee on March 1 before extending his party's support to the TMC on the same day. He said that the primary goal was to prevent the BJP from entering the state. "It is Lalu Ji's decision to provide full support to Mamata ji. Our first priority is to stop BJP from coming to power in Bengal," he said.
The RJD, JMM and MVA alliance put up impressive performances in their respective state elections, and while Tejashwi's party did not manage to grab power, it did emerge as Bihar's single largest party.
West Bengal's substantial non-Bengali population could be a deciding factor in the elections. It was a demographic the BJP was hoping to capture but several non-Bengali parties declaring their support for the ruling TMC might have complicated the situation.
The elections in the state will be stretched over eight phases and drawn out for over a month from March 27 to April 29. The results are scheduled to be announced on May 2.
(With agency inputs)