KOLKATA: In a major shake-up of poll strategy, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) has allotted tickets for 17 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal — 41 per cent — to women candidates. Releasing the candidate list at a Press conference here on Tuesday, TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said: “They called for 35 per cent reservation for women, but 41 per cent of my candidates are women. I am getting goosebumps while saying this. This is a way towards women empowerment.”
While 16 fresh faces have been nominated by the party this time, 8 sitting MPs have been dropped. These include Jadavpur MP Professor Sugata Bose, party general secretary Subrata Bakshi and Basirhat MP Idris Ali. Mamata said these leaders had “requested” her to exclude their names from the list.
“Many incumbent MPs might have been struck off the list as we wanted to give priority to women, Dalits, Muslims and tribals. If they stay with the party, we will appoint them elsewhere,” she added.
However, senior leaders Subrata Mukherjee from Bankura, Sougata Roy from Dumdum, Kalyan Banerjee from Serampore, Dinesh Trivedi from Barrackpore and Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar from Barasat have made it.
The TMC has also decided to field five actors, six MLAs, wife of slain Kishanganj MLA Satyajit Biswas and defectors from the Congress. Actors Nusrat Jahan and Mimi Chakraborty will contest from Basirhat and Jadavpur, respectively, for the first time. Actor Deepak Adhikari and actress Shatabdi Roy have renominated from Ghatal and Birbhum.
TMC MP, two other parties’ rebels join BJP
The BJP inducted expelled TMC MP Anupam Hazra and two sitting MLAs from the Congress and CPI(M) on Tuesday. Former Union Minister Mukul Roy said there would be more exodus of TMC leaders in the coming days since the state was witnessing “anti-Mamata Banerjee wave”. MLAs Dulal Chandra (Cong-ress) and Khargi Murmu (CPI-M) also joined the BJP. “Mukul Roy had helped Mamata reach the summit of state politics... He will bring her back to the zero level,” said Kailash Vijayvargiya, state BJP in-charge.