Going it alone in the coming Lok Sabha elections, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) today announced candidates in all 42 seats in West Bengal, bringing in 26 new faces including soccer star Baichung Bhutia and Mamata Banerjee's nephew Abhishek Banerjee, head of Trinamool Yuva.
Party supremo Mamata Banerjee also announced candidates for some seats in three other states.
Four sitting MPs were left out of the candidates list while the new faces also included film stars like Moonmoon Sen, matinee idol in Bengali cinema Deb (Dipak Adhikari) and yesteryear star Sandhya Roy apart from sitting MPs Shatabi Roy and Tapas Pal.
Moonmoon Sen, daughter of Suchitra Sen, will be fielded from Bankura Lok Sabha seat while Sugata Bose, grand nephew of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose from prestigious Jadavpur constituency replacing suspended party MP Kabir Suman.
Mamata's nephew Abhishek Banerjee would contest from Diamond Harbour seat in South 24-Parganas district. The seat was held by Somen Mitra, a former Congress state unit chief who had joined TMC in 2009 only to quit recently.
Some singers also found place in the list.
The TMC chief said that she had chosen "candidates from all walks of life to give a proper representation to Bengal".
TMC, which had shared seats in alliance with Congress in the 2009 elections, had fought from 27 seats and the latter from 14 seats. It had left one seat to SUCI, a Leftist party opposed to the CPI(M).
Justifying her stand to fight the elections alone, she said, "People have wanted us to go it alone. We are happy that we won't have to see the political faces of the corrupt."
"We hope to win from all seats," Banerjee said.
Bhutia, who hails from Namchi in Sikkim, would interestingly fight from Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat, which the BJP's Jaswant Singh held with support from the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
Banerjee also announced the names of TMC candidates for two Lok Sabha seats in Tripura, two in Jharkhand and two in Manipur.
Expressing her happiness at the five-phase election announced by the EC, she said, "It will take two months and seven days. But this will give me time to campaign in all places."
However, she also mentioned that in some other large states like Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, elections would be held in one phase only.
"We respect the Election Commission. But we have seen that in Gujarat election is in one phase while in Tamil Nadu also it will be held in one phase," she said adding "thanks to the EC, it will give us time to campaign."
The party shifted sitting Basirhat MP Haji Nurul Islam to Jangipur, a seat held by President Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijit Mukherjee of the Congress.
While Dr Sugata Bose, a Harvard University professor of history, has replaced rebel MP Kabir Suman from Jadavpur seat, the MPs from Bongaon and Ranaghat have been replaced owing to health reasons.
At Raiganj in North Dinajpur district, ailing Congress leader Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi's brother Satya Ranjan Dasmunshi has been fielded as the TMC candidate.
The seat is at present held by Deepa Dasmunshi, wife of Priya Ranjan, who is a Union Minister of State in the UPA-2 Cabinet and a bitter critic of Mamata Banerjee.
Dinesh Trivedi, who had been unceremoniously removed as Railway Minister by Banerjee after he went against the party line and hiked passenger fares in the 2012 Railway Budget, has been renominated from Barrackpur constituency.
Trinamool Congress, which had won 19 of the 42 seats in 2009 elections, has fielded 11 women candidates this time.
Noted Bengali singer Indranil Sen has been fielded from Beharampore constituency, presently being held by West Bengal Pradesh Congress chief and Minister of State for Railways Adhir Chowdhury.
"Of the 42 seats in Bengal, we are fielding 26.19 per cent women candidates and seven candidates from Minority community will fight under the Trinamool banner," Banerjee said.
Yesteryear film star Sandhya Roy and Dev have been put up in Medinipur and Ghatal constituencies respectively.