Hours after releasing the list of 157 candidates the Bharatiya Janata Party had to face an embarrassing moment in West Bengal when two of those whose names figured in it rejected their candidature on the plea that they are not even the primary members of the party and had never sought ticket. The first to reject the offer is Shikha Mitra Chowdhury, widow of former West Bengal Pradesh Congress president Somendranath Mitra, who was named from Chowringhee seat in Kolkata.
Rejecting the BJP’s offer she said that she was never 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 was quoted in the media.
Tarun Saha, husband of the local Trinamool Congress MLA, Mala Saha, got ticket from Kashipur-Belgachia seat. He also refused to contest and said that he had not joined the saffron party and neither requested for the ticket.
In another major development the party had to replace its candidate from Alipurduar seat with a local leader. The party had a few days back announced the name of Ashok Lahiri, former Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India. Now the seat has gone to Suman Kanjilal, the general secretary of the Alipurduar unit of the BJP.
The latest announcement by the BJP on March 18 evening has added fuel to the fire within the party with workers and supporters going on rampage at several places in West Bengal ransacking their own party offices and targeting the turncoats from the Trinamool Congress.
Independent analysts are of the view that the open rebellion in the party has the potential to jeopardise the poll prospect of many BJP candidates and thus in a way favour the TMC.
The anger of these workers has badly dampened the spirit of the rank and file of the party after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in Purulia earlier in the day.