Parliamentarians including minister Babul Supriyo, Locket Chatterjee, Swapan Dasgupta and Nisith Pramanik were enlisted by the BJP on Sunday to contest the West Bengal elections that begin later this month, in the latest sign that the party is leaving no stone unturned in its high-stakes battle against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Babul Supriyo, a singer-turned-politician and the junior environment minister, will contest from Tollygunge in Kolkata, the heart of the state’s film industry. He is it two-term MP from Asansol.
Actor-turned-politician Locket Chatterjee will run from Chinsurah in Hooghly district, Swapan Dasgupta from Tarkeshwar in the same district, and Nisith Pramanik, also an MP, from Dinhata in Cooch Behar.
Announcing the names of 27 candidates for the third phase and 38 candidates for the fourth phase of polls in West Bengal, the BJP has also fielded former chief economic adviser Ashok Lahiri from the Alipurduar assembly seat.
The choice of seat for Babul Supriyo has raised eyebrows. Mr Supriyo will be taking on minister Arup Biswas who is close to Mamata Banerjee. While announcing her candidates list, Mamata Banerjee had said, “I may even fight from Tollygunge.” BJP claimed she said so because she was not sure about Nandigram. The Trinamool, however, dismissed that comment as jest.
Among celebrities drafted in the candidates’ list are actor Yash Dasgupta from Chanditala in Hooghly, actor Payel Sarkar from Behala East in Kolkata, actor Tanusree Chakraborty from Shyampur in Howrah district and actor Anjana Basu from Sonarpur South in South 24 Parganas district.
Rabindranath Bhattacharjee, the 89-year-old former Trinamool Congress MLA from Singur who joined the BJP last week after being dropped by his old party this time, will contest from his seat. Other Trinamool Congress defectors Rajib Banerjee from Domjur and Prabir Ghoshal from Uttarpara have also been given their old seats.
Last week, the BJP had released its first list of 57 candidates for the polls that fielded Mamata Banerjee’s former aide Suvendu Adhikari from Nandigram against the Trinamool Congress chief, setting the stage for a high-profile contest from the seat in the state assembly elections.
West Bengal will hold elections in record eight phases starting March 27 till April 29. Votes will be counted on May 2. The BJP has launched an all-out campaign to defeat two-time Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress.