West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress on Thursday fielded former state minister Madan Mitra, who spent nearly 21 months in jail after his arrest by the CBI in connection with the Saradha ponzi scam, as its candidate for the Bhatpara assembly by-poll.
Chief Minister and Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee announced Mitra's name alongside two others - Amal Kiskoo from Habibpur (ST) and Abdul Karim Chaudhury from Islampur - for three of the five constituencies where bypolls will be held on May 19, the day of the seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha election.
The Bhatpara constituency has become vacant after sitting Trinamool MLA Arjun Singh crossed over to the BJP and resigned to contest the Lok Sabha election as its candidate in Barrackpore.
"Madan Mitra will be our candidate from Bhatpara, Amal Kiskoo a teacher from Habibpur and Abdul Karim Chaudhury from Islampur," Banerjee announced at an election rally in Suri of Birbhum district.
Mitra was arrested by the central agency in December, 2014. He was seen in videos clips praising Saradha Group chief Sudipta Sen at a meeting.
It was alleged that Mitra, known to be one of Banerjee's most trusted aides and a founder member of the party, enjoyed benefits from the Saradha group.
He was granted bail by a court in September 2016.
Banerjee said her party would back Gorkha Janmukti Morcha candidate Binoy Tamang for bypolls to the Darjeeling assembly constituency. The elections have become necessary in Islampur, Habibpur and Darjeeling after the sitting lawmakers resigned to jump in the fray for the Lok Sabha polls.
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