KOLKATA: The BJP is deploying heavy artillery to wrest south Bengal from the Trinamool Congress, if one were to go by the list of candidates for 63 seats in the third and fourth phases of the eight-phase West Bengal Assembly polls.
For, it has fielded four BJP members of Parliament, four defectors and an equal number of actors, trying to whip up enthusiasm and possibly create a wave for the big fight.
The party has already made deep inroads in north Bengal during the Lok Sabha polls. While Union minister and Asansol MP Babul Supriyo will contest from Tollygunge in Kolkata, Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta will enter the fray from Tarakeshwar.
Dasgupta’s name is already doing the rounds as a possible chief ministerial candidate.
Tarakeshwar is a popular Hindu pilgrimage site in Hooghly district and his candidature is significant in the backdrop of the BJP’s Hindutva rhetoric.
Fielding Supriyo in Tollygunge is being seen as a smart move as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, while announcing her party’s candidate list, had hinted she might contest from there besides Nandigram.
Former minister in Mamata’s cabinet Rajib Banerjee has been fielded from his own constituency Domjur in Howrah and Trinamool defector Rabindranath Bhattacharya from Singur. Bhattacharya joined the BJP two days after Mamata denied him a ticket.
But angry BJP supporters in Singur reportedly locked up visiting Madhya Pradesh health minister Prabhuram Chaudhary in a party office, demanding Bhattacharya’s axing from the list.
Meanwhile, minutes after he was nominated as BJP candidate from Tarakeswar assembly seat in Hooghly district, Dasgupta said his party wants to put an end to TMCs 'syndicate raj' in West Bengal.
He also asked people who hail from the state but live outside to "chip in" and help the BJP build 'Sonar Bangla' (golden Bengal).
"We all are aware about the situation prevailing in state. This atmosphere of violence, extortion. We want to end that. The BJP will ensure that people in Bengal get to live in peace," he said.
Senior saffron party leaders including Amit Shah and J P Nadda have often hit out at the Mamata Banerjee camp for allegedly patronising syndicates and clubs that extort money from common people.
Dasgupta also said that "work opportunities have dried up" in the state, and talented youth are moving out for jobs and higher education.
"Bengalis have been able to establish themselves all over the world. Sadly, they do not get enough scope to work here and move out. We wish to stem that flow," he said.
Taking to Twitter, he wrote, "Honoured to be nominated by the West Bengal BJP to contest from Tarakeshwara centre of Bengals cultural heritage. I look forward to the campaign for a new, vibrant Sonar Bangla."
(With PTI Inputs)