2 candidates shun ticket after BJP list names 148 for Bengal polls

most opinion polls have projected the Samajwadi Party as the closest challenger to the BJP | Photo: PTI

In an embarrassment for the BJP, two candidates have refused poll tickets hours after they were named by the party in a list of 148 candidates for the upcoming West Bengal assembly elections that was released on Thursday (March 18). Top leaders like Mukul Roy and Rahul Sinha are also on the list.

TMC’s sitting Kashipur Belgachhia MLA Mala Saha, wife of Tarun Saha who has been fielded by the BJP from the seat, told The Federal that she and her husband are still in the Trinamool Congress [TMC] and there is not question of her husband contesting on a BJP ticket.

Mala Saha, who was not given a ticket by the TMC this time, said they were not consulted by the BJP before including her husband’s name on their candidates’ list.

Another candidate, Shikha Mitra Chowdhury [wife of late Congress leader Somen Mitra], too refused to fight for the BJP. In a video message tweeted by her son, she called the news of her candidature for the BJP a “rumour” and said she won’t fight the election.

Meanwhile, the BJP continued with its strategy of fielding personalities from different walks of life: it included several turncoats from rival parties, actors and even a member of Parliament. The BJP has so far announced five sitting MPs, including a Union minister, as its candidates for the polls. Sources said the BJP had decided to give tickets to all its prominent leaders in Bengal, including several sitting MPs, except state president Dilip Ghosh.

Folk artiste Ashim Sarkar was named from from the Haringhata assembly seat and scientist Gobhardhan Das from the Purbasthali Uttar segment. Bengal actor Rudranil Ghosh is in the fray from Bhabanipur while tickets have also been given actor Parno Mittra [Baranagar] and fashion designer Agnimitra Paul [Asansol Dakshin].

The party has fielded its former state unit chief Rahul Sinha from Habra and former Union minister and ex-TMC leader Mukul Roy from the Krishnanagar Uttar seat. Roy had not participated in an assembly election since 2001. His son, Subhrangshu Roy, is in the fray from Bijpur.

Anirban Ganguly, director of the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, has been fielded from Bolpur in Birbhum district.

The BJP has also fielded the family members of its slain workers in some seats, apparently to whip up sentiments over violence allegedly unlashed by “TMC goons”.

From Barrackpur, it has fielded Chandramani Shukla, father of slain BJP Titagarh councillor and local strongman, Manish Shukla. From Hemtabad, BJP has fielded Chandima Roy, wife of former MLA Debendra Nath Roy, who was found hanging near his house last year.

The top turncoats from rival parties, who have been given tickets, included Saikat Panja [Monteswar], Jitendra Tiwari [Pandabeswar], Paban Singh [Bhatpara], Shankar Ghosh [Siliguri], Biswajit Kundu [Kalna], and Sabyasachi Dutta [Bidhannagar].

Elections for the West Bengal assembly will be held in eight phases, with first phase on March 27 and the last on April 29. The results will be announced on May 2.