KOLKATA: Over 20 ministers and MLAs have been dropped from Trinamool Congress (TMC) candidacy for the upcoming West Bengal Assembly elections, including big names like state's Finance Minister Amit Mitra, Land Minister Abdul Rajjak Molla and Agriculture Minister Purnendu Basu.
The incumbent TMC has announced the list of 291 candidates for the 294 seats in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly and left three seats for its ally Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM).
The three ministers were dropped from the candidate list due to their age and the threat of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Mitra, who belonged to the Khardaha constituency in North 24 Parganas, has been replaced by Kajal Sinha, while Rajjak Molla has been replaced by Mohammad Rezaul Karim in Bhangar constituency of South 24 Parganas.
Basu was replaced by Aditi Munshi in the Rajarhat Gopalpur constituency in North 24 Parganas.
Mitra has said he will make a comeback in future polls, adding that he could not afford to take a risk during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, addressing a press conference here, Banerjee said she will contest from Nandigram and not from the Bhowanipore constituency, from where she has been the sitting MLA since 2011.
"We are the first political party to announce the candidate list. Today, we are releasing a list of 291 candidates, which includes 50 women, 79 SCs, 17 STs and 42 Muslim candidates. On three seats of north Bengal, we are not putting up our candidates. In three seats -- Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong -- GJM will contest the elections and whoever wins will support us," she informed.
Out of the 291 candidates, TMC leader Madan Mitra will contest from Kamarhati in North 24 Parganas, state Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim will contest from Kolkata Port and MLA Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay will contest from Bhawanipur in Kolkata.
Furthermore, actress Sayantika Banerjee will contest from Bankura, actor Chiranjeet Chakrabarti will contest from Barasat, cricketer Manoj Tiwary will contest from Shibpur and former Congress leader and Jadavpur University professor Om Prakash Mishra will contest from Siliguri.
West Bengal Assembly elections will be held in eight phases starting from March 27 with the final round of voting taking place on April 29. The counting of votes in the state will take place on May 2.