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NATIONAL

West Bengal Assembly polls | Two BJP candidates decline nomination

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Former Chief Economic Advisor Ashok Lahiri replaced in Alipurduar.

In a major to embarrassment to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), two candidates announced by the party on Thursday for the Assembly polls from Kolkata have refused to contest on the party’s ticket.

Shikha Mitra Chowdhury, wife of the late West Bengal Pradesh Congress president Somendranath Mitra was named by the party for the Chowringhee seat. She, however, said she was not consulted before the party made the announcement. “I am not contesting on a BJP ticket anyway. I come from a Congress culture and I cannot join the BJP,” she said.

Another BJP candidate chosen for the Kashipur-Belgachia constituency, Tarun Saha, said he had not joined the BJP and had not sent any request for candidature. Mr. Saha is the husband of the local TMC MLA Mala Saha.

In another development, the BJP changed its candidate for the Alipurduar seat, eminent economist and former Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India Ashok Lahiri, with the party’s general secretary in Alipurduar district, Suman Kanjilal.

There were reports of BJP offices being attacked in certain parts of the State and party supporters coming out airing their grievances publicly against the newly announced candidates. Protests were reported in Durgapur, Malda and North 24 Parganas. There had been similar protests when the party announced candidates for third and fourth phases.

Prominent leaders in list

During the day BJP announced 156 candidates for West Bengal. They included prominent party leaders like Mukul Roy, Rahul Sinha and Shamik Bhattacharya.

The party was careful to include both old and relatively new faces. Interestingly, the list of 148 candidates for the fifth to eighth phase and nine candidates (including one replacement) for the fourth phase does not include the name of West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh.

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BJP vice-president Mukul Roy will contest from Krishnanagar Uttar Assembly seat in Nadia, Rahul Sinha from Habra in North 24 Parganas and Shamik Bhattacharya from the Rajarhat Goplapur seat. Ranaghat Lok Sabha MP Jagannath Sarkar will contest from the Santipur seat in Nadia and former Trinamool Congress legislators Sabyasachi Dutta and Jitendra Tewari will contest from will contest from Bidhannagar and Pandaveshwar seats.

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The BJP list includes actors Parno Mitra, who will be contesting from Baranagar in the northern fringe of the city, and Rudraneel Ghosh from the Bhawanipur Assembly seat. Gobardhan Das, professor of Special Centre for Molecular Medicine, Jawaharlal Nehru University, will contest from Purbosthali Uttar in Bardhaman district. Director of Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, Anirban Ganguly, will contest from Bolpur and footballer Kalyan Choubey will contest from Manicktala.

Sitting MLA Pawan Singh, son of BJP MP Arjun Singh, will contest from Bhatpara. Mukul Roy’s son and sitting MLA of Bijpur, Subhranshu Roy, will contest from the same seat. Among the other key candidates are Agnimitra Paul from Asansol Dakshin and actor Srabanti Chattopadhyay from Behala West. Baishali Dalmiya, who was sitting TMC MLA from Bally before he joined the BJP, has been given ticket from the same seat.

Minority candidates

Among the minority candidates nominated by the party are State vice-president Majufa Khatun from Sagardighi Assembly seat, Masuhara Khatun from Raninagar, Mohd Mehbud Alam from Bhagabangola and Golam Modrasha from Raghunathganj. Most of these seats are in Murshidabad district.

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