Kolkata: Union Minister Babul Supriyo would fight to retain Asansol, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s grand-nephew Chandra Kumar Bose is in fray from the prestigious Kolkata South, while BJP’s West Bengal unit president Dilip Ghosh in the race from Midnapore in the first list of 28 candidates announced by the party for the Lok Sabha polls in the eastern state.
Actress Locket Chatterjee is the nominee from Hooghly, while new joinee and former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh has got the ticket from Ghatal in West Midnapore district where she was posted as Superintendent of Police for a long time.
The list announced by the party includes its veteran leaders, some new joinees, mostly in their familiar turf, as also some other high profile candidates who, the party hopes, can make a difference.
Among the leaders of other parties who crossed over to the BJP recently, former Trinamool Congress legislator and political strongman Arjun Singh has been fielded from Barrackpore where he would take on former Union Minister Dinesh Trivedi of the Trinamool Congress. Gargi Chatterjee is fighting on a CPI-M ticket.
Khagen Murmu, who left the CPI-M to pitch his lot with the saffron unit earlier this month, would contest from Malda North, while two turncoat Trinamool Congress MPs Soumitra Khan and Anupam Hazra also feature in the candidate list.
Khan would be the BJP candidate from his old constituency Bishnupur, while Anupam Hazra tries his luck from Jadavpur against actress Mimi Chakraborty of the Trinamool and CPI-M nominee and former city mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya. Hazra had entered the Lok Sabha from Bolpur five years back.
Singer-actor-turned politician Supriyo would be up against yesteryear’s actress Moon Moon Sen and CPI-M’s Gouranga Chatterjee.
Chandra Kumar Bose, grandson of Netaji’s elder brother Sarat Chandra Bose, would face a challenge from Trinamool Congress nominee Mala Roy and CPI-M’s Nandini Mukherjee.
Dilip Ghosh has to contend with seasoned campaigner Manas Bhunia, who has bagged the nomination from the Trinamool. The Left Front contender from the seat is the CPI’s Biplab Bhatta.
Bharati Ghosh, who resigned from the IPS after she reportedly fell out with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, faces leading Bengali film hero Deepak Adhikari alias Dev -the sitting Trinamool MP from Ghatal.
Murmu has to contend with his old rival and sitting MP Mausam Noor, who crossed over to the Trinammol recently and bagged the party’s nomination from Malda North. Five years back, Noor had won the seat as a Congress candidate, humbling Murmu. Battling for the Congress is Isha Khan Choudhury, an MLA from Sujapur and Biswanath Ghosh is fighting it out for LF spearhead CPI-M.
Locket Chatterjee, who heads the state party’s women’s wing, has been named the candidate from Hooghly, though she had earlier reportedly wanted to contest the polls from Birbhum constituency.
But according to BJP sources, an internal survey conducted by the party found local support for Chatterjee in Hooghly, while the voters preferred a strong organisational leader Dudh Kumar Mondal in Birbum.
After an intense debate, the party has pitched for Mondal as its candidate from Birbhum, where the CPI-M candidate is renowned doctor Rezaul Karim, while Trinamool has reposed faith in its sitting MP Satabdi Roy, a former actress.
In Kolkata North, the BJP candidate is its former state President Rahul Sinha, who lost out to Trinamool’s Sudip Bandopadhyay five years back. Bandopadhyay is again in the race, while the CPI-M has declared Kaninika Bose (Ghosh) as its candidate.
A key constituency left out from the BJP’s list is Darjeeling, from where Union Minister Surinder Singh Ahluwalia had won in 2014. Darjeeling votes in the second phase on April 18.
BJP sources said the politics in Darjeeling is still quite fluid and the party is trying to firm up a new alliance of forces after a section of its old ally Gorkha Janmukti Morcha joined hands with the Trinamool. This seems to have prompted the BJP leaders to wait for some time before zeroing in on the right candidate for the seat.