West Bengal election: Mamata to take final call on candidate list, several sitting MLAs likely to be dropped
West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee has been authorised by her party to take the final call on selecting the candidates for the upcoming Assembly polls. The decision was taken at a meeting of 12-member election committee of the TMC at her residence in Kalighat on Monday.
"Today, the election committee authorised Mamata Banerjee to take the final call regarding selecting candidates," a senior TMC leader said.
Several sitting MLAs could be dropped from the candidate list, news agency PTI reported citing senior leaders of the TMC who are aware of the developments. The party is planning to nominate more youths, women, and leaders with clean image and acceptability in their area, PTI further reported citing the leaders mentioned above.
A party leader, who PTI said was present at the meeting, said that elderly MLAs with age above 75 are likely to be dropped.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Friday announced the poll schedule for West Bengal. As per the schedule, the state will vote across eight phases, between March 27 and April 29. The other six dates on which polling will take place are April 1, 6, 10, 17, 22 and 26. Counting of votes for all 294 assembly constituencies will take place on May 2 and results will be announced the same day.
Banerjee, who first became chief minister in 2011 and was re-elected in 2016, has pitched herself as a ‘daughter of the soil’ for the forthcoming elections.
In 2016, the TMC won 211 seats in the 294-member House. The Left-Congress alliance had bagged 77 seats, and the BJP three.
Meanwhile, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav met Banerjee on Monday and appealed to the people from Bihar domiciled here to vote for TMC. He, however, avoided giving a straightforward answer to questions from journalists about whether the RJD will contest the elections in alliance with the TMC, saying the upcoming polls will be a fight for saving "ideals and values".