In an unusual development the Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday (March
14) announced that apart from Union minister Babul Supriyo, three
other sitting MPs of the party would be contesting the Assembly polls
in West Bengal. The party announced the names of 27 candidates for the
third and 36 for the fourth list.
The party also released the names of the rest 17 candidates for the
third and final phase of poll in Assam. It also made public the names
of its candidates for Tamil Nadu and Kerala Assembly elections. In
Kerala the party has released the names of 112 candidates out of the
total 115 that it has decided to contest. This includes the name of
Metro Man 89-year old E Sreedharan.
Apart from Babul Supriyo, who is the MP from Asansol, the party gave
ticket to former Senior Editor of The Times of India and now a
columnist, Swapan Dasgupta, who is also the Rajya Sabha MP of the
party. While Babul will be contesting from Tollygunge in Kolkata,
Swapan Dasgupta will try his luck from Tarakeshwar.
The party MP from Hooghly Locket Chatterjee got ticket from Chinchurah
in the same Hooghly district while Nisith Pramanik, MP from Cooch
Behar has been fielded from Dinhata segment in the same parliamentary
The decision came after a marathon meeting of the Central Election
Committee at the party’s headquarters in New Delhi on Saturday. Though
it was presided over by the party chief J P Nadda, prominent among
those present on the occasion were Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home
minister Amit Shah and defence minister Rajnath Singh.
The name of 90-year old former school teacher, Rabindranath
Bhattacharya also figured in the list. He would be contesting from
Singur, which he was representing last time as a TMC legislator. He
was denied the Trinamool Congress ticket this time on the ground of
old age. But on March 8 he joined the saffron party and six days later
got ticket at this ripe age.
So, the BJP has decided to ignore its own unwritten criteria of not
fielding anyone above 75 by giving ticket to Sreedharan and
Rabindranath Bhattacharya. The latter will take on Becharam Manna of
the TMC in Singur. Becharam, like his rival, is another hero of the
Singur movement. However, he is much younger to Rabindranath. His wife
is also contesting on the TMC ticket from the neighbouring seat in the
same Hooghly district.
Independent analysts are of the view that by fielding so many MPs,
including a Union minister, the BJP, in a way has exposed its
inability to find strong candidates to take on the TMC.
Besides, the party had to offer tickets to several film personalities
and TMC rejects, who were no more in a position to woo voters on their
Not only that Rajiv Banerjee, another minister in Mamata Banerjee
cabinet, who quit the party found the name in the BJP list on Sunday.
Incidentally, the names of these candidates were announced much after
the TMC had already released the names of all its 291 nominees.