The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Tuesday released its list of candidates for all 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal, shuffling around half the incumbents and dropping eight sitting members of Parliament (MPs). About 41 per cent of the candidates are women, said TMC chief Mamata Banerjee.
The surprise drop-outs included party general secretary, Subrata Bakshi, and Sugata Bose, who hails from the family of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Banerjee, current chief minister of West Bengal, said Bakshi was keen to focus on party work.
Bose, on the other hand, had not got clearance from Harvard University, where he is Gardiner Professor of Oceanic History and Affairs. Former Congress member Mala Roy, who joined TMC in 2015, will contest Bakshi’s seat, Kolkata South, while Tollywood actress Mimi Chakraborty will contest from Jadavpur, which was Bose’s turf.
Veteran actress Moon Moon Sen, current MP from Bankura, has been reassigned to contest from Asansol, currently represented by Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) Babul Supriyo, a minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government at the Centre.
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The TMC also upped the glamour content among its candidates. Another actress, Nusrat Jahan will make her debut, contesting from Basirhat. Superstar Dev and senior actress Satabdi Roy will seek re-election from Ghatal and Birbhum, respectively.
“We had to balance participation from women with participation from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. We also had to strike a regional balance,” said the West Bengal CM.
Not all the nominations were surprises, though.
Party veteran Subrata Mukherjee, currently minister in the West Bengal government, will contest from Bankura. Sisir Adhikari, the incumbent from Kanthi, will seek re-election from this seat; his son, Dibyendu Adhikari, will contest the adjoining Tamluk constituency.
Mausam Noor, who recently joined the TMC from Congress, and Amar Singh Rai, who left Gorkha Janmukti Morch, will contest from their turfs, North Malda and Darjeeling, respectively.
TMC chief Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek, national president of All-India Trinamool Youth Congress, will contest from Diamond Harbour, a stronghold of the party. The party will also fight from Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.