Kolkata: Amidst the joining of several celebrities from actors to folk singer and director, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) has fielded a slew of Bengali film and television industry representatives, sportsmen and other celebrities for the coming Assembly election, scheduled to be held in March-April.
Trinamool Congress on Friday released party’s candidate list for all 294 seats in the state Assembly which is set to go for polls in eight phases starting March 27.
While announcing the list, Chief Minister and TMC supremo said she has given importance to young people while choosing the name.
Actors Saayoni Ghosh, June Maliah, and Sayantika Banerjee have been fielded from the Asansol South, Medinipur, and Bankura constituencies respectively. All three constituencies saw BJP leads in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Actors Lovely Maitra and Soham Chakraborty will contest elections from Sonarpur Dakshin in South 24 Parganas to Chandipur in the East Midnapore district.
Film director Raj Chakraborty has been fielded from the Barrackpore constituency, which the BJP holds at both the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha levels. It is considered to be a volatile area and a stronghold of former TMC leader, now in the BJP, Arjun Singh.
“It is a very challenging task. I know the lanes and bylanes of Barrackpore from where I am contesting. I also know the problems of the people. I would urge the people not to see me as a director or film personality but as a soldier of Mamata Banerjee,” Chakraborty said.
Actor Kanchan Mullick has been fielded from Uttarpara, in Hooghly, also a tough district and seat, that the TMC marginally won in 2019.
Actor Koushani Mukherjee has been fielded from Krishnanagar Uttar in the Nadia district. Even though the TMC won the Krishnanagar parliamentary seat, it was behind by a big margin in this particular Assembly segment.
Cricketer Manoj Tiwary has been fielded from his home turf of Shibpur in Howrah and footballer Bidesh Bose will be in the fray from Uluberia East
Folk singer, Aditi Munshi, has been fielded from the BJP-strong constituency on Rajarhat-Gopalpur in North 24 parganas.
Adivasi actress Birbaha Hansda was fielded in the Jhargram seat in Jangalmahal where the BJP won big in 2019.
Former IPS officer Humayun Kabir, who had quit his job to join TMC last month, was fielded from Debra in West Midnapore district.
Two surprise additions to the TMC list are Ratna Chatterjee and Sujata Mondol Khan.
Ratna is the wife of former TMC mayor, now in the BJP, Sovon Chatterjee. Ratna is contesting from the Behala Purba seat, Sovon’s home turf.
Sujata Mondol Khan is the wife of BJP MP, also formerly in the Trinamool, Saumitra Khan. Saumitra is also the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) President in Bengal.
Sujata first came to the limelight when she single-handedly handled Saumitra’s campaign for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from the Bishnupur constituency for the BJP. Saumitra was barred from entering his constituency due to criminal charges. With Sujata at the helm, Saumitra won that seat.
In December 2020, Sujata joined the TMC. In a press conference right after her joining, Saumitra announced that he will be sending her a divorce notice.
Sujata is contesting from the Arambagh constituency in Hooghly, considered a tough seat for the TMC.
Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee will be contesting the upcoming assembly polls from Nandigram in East Midnapore,
The TMC list of dropped names includes Amit Mitra, state finance minister, Purnendu Basu, state technical education minister and Manish Gupta, former state power minister. Instead at least three councillors of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation were given tickets.
The TMC supremo said, “This is a soft election, a smiley election. We will play, we will fight, and we will win.”
Meanwhile, the BJP sources said although nothing had been finalised in this regard but a couple of names of Bengali film stars were doing the rounds in the party.
They also said that the party was focusing on film stars who were “household names” in the State and long time residents of the constituency.
“However, the final decision will be taken by the Central leadership,” the party sources said.
In Darjeeling district, the GJM factions, led by Bimal Gurung and Binoy Tamang, are allies of the TMC but both groups said they would contest each other even if that leads to a triangular contest with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the fray.
The BJP is planning to contest all seats in the hill region in alliance with the Gorkha National Liberation Front and the Communist Party of Revolutionary Marxists which are smaller parties compared to the GJM.
Gurung and Tamang have plans to field candidates in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong assembly constituencies that Banerjee left out for GJM while announcing the names of 291 TMC candidates on Friday afternoon.
Roshan Giri, general secretary of the Gurung faction said, “We will contest all three seats on our own. There is no question of entering into an understanding with the Tamang group.”
Leaders of the Gurung faction earlier promised to back the TMC in the rest of the 14 seats in Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts.
Anit Thapa, general secretary of the Tamang faction and chairman of the board of administrators in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) said “It is going to be a triangular contest in these three seats. We left Gurung long ago.”
The elections on 294 seats across the state will be held in eight phases beginning March 27 till April 29. Eligible voters will cast their ballot on March 27, April 1, April 6, April 10, April 17, April 22, April 26 and April 29.
The results will be announced on May 2.