BJP fields 4 MPs, TMC defectors
Kolkata The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday named Union minister of state Babul Supriyo, two other Lok Sabha members and Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta alongside four actors and several former Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders in its list of candidates for the third and fourth phases of the Bengal assembly elections
Kolkata The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday named Union minister of state Babul Supriyo, two other Lok Sabha members and Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta alongside four actors and several former Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders in its list of candidates for the third and fourth phases of the Bengal assembly elections.
The party named 63 candidates; 27 for the third phase and 36 for the fourth phase. The polls will be held on April 6 and 10, respectively. The state has 294 constituencies. The party did not name four candidates for the third phase and eight candidates for the fourth phase.
Supriyo has been fielded from the Tollygunge seat in south Kolkata where the TMC has fielded current incumbent and minster Aroop Biswas.
Dasgupta, a nominated Rajya Sabha member, has been fielded from Tarakeswar in Hooghly district against the TMC’s Ramendu Sinha Roy.
Senior journalist Rantideb Sengupta, the editor of one of the mouthpieces of the right-wing camp, refused to contest after he was fielded from the Howrah south constituency. “I was not consulted. I only want to campaign,” Sengupta said. He contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls unsuccessfully. Sengupta changed his mind later in the day after calls from senior party leaders.
Subir Nag, former president of the BJP’s Hooghly district unit, said he would like to step out of politics for a while after the BJP central leadership in Delhi named Locket Chatterjee, the MP from Hooghly Lok Sabha constituency in Hooghly district, as candidate for the Chinsurah seat against the TMC’s Asit Majumdar. “Probably the leadership is not satisfied with my performance,” Nag said.
“The BJP is a party where people follow the directions that come from the top. We will win all 18 seats in Hooghly district,” said Chatterjee.
The announcements were made by BJP national general secretary Arun Singh and Union minister of state Debasree Chaudhuri, the MP from Raigunj in north Bengal.
Alongside Supriyo, the MP from Asansol in West Burdwan district, Nisith Pramanik, the Lok Sabha member from Cooch Behar constituency in Cooch Behar district, has also been named as a candidate.
While Supriyo is a two-time MP, Chatterjee and Pramanik went to the Lok Sabha in 2019 when the BJP won 18 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats.
Pramanik will contest from Dinhata against the TMC’s Udayan Guha, who was a minister during the Left Front era and left his party, the Forward Bloc, to join the TMC in 2011.
The BJP fielded four actors, some of who joined the party less than a month ago.
Yash Dasgupta, a young and popular star, who joined the BJP on February 18 has been fielded from Chanditala in Hooghly district against the TMC’s two-time MLA Swati Khandokar.
“I have been given a huge responsibility. I am a bit nervous too,” said Dasgupta.
Actor Tanusree Chakraborty, who joined the BJP a week ago, has been fielded along with actors Anjana Basu and Payel Sarkar.
Sarkar joined the BJP on February 25. She will contest from Behala East against the TMC’s Ratna Chatterjee, the estranged wife of the ruling party’s former mayor Sovan Chatterjee. Chatterjee is now the BJP’s poll observer for the Kolkata zone.
Former minster Rajib Banerjee has been fielded from the Domjur seat in Howrah district from where he had won twice. Prabir Ghosal, the TMC MLA from Hooghly’s Uttarpara seat, who joined the BJP along with Banerjee, has been fielded from the same seat.
Similarly, octogenarian Rabindranath Bhattacharya, the TMC’s sitting MLA from Singur in Hooghly district, who joined the BJP on not being nominated, will contest the adjoining Haripal seat.
“Fielding as many as four sitting MPs in an assembly poll is unprecedented in Bengal and surprising at the same time. This was probably done to address the discontent among old-timers of the BJP whose differences with leaders who defected from the TMC in recent months is well known,” said Kolkata-based political science professor and election analyst Udayan Bandopadhyay.
TMC Lok Sabha member Saugata Roy said, “The lists expose the bankruptcy of the BJP. A party fields a Rajya Sabha member and three Lok Sabha members in state elections only when it cannot find candidates.”