NEW DELHI: The Trinamool Congress on Friday released a list of 291 candidates for the 294-member West Bengal assembly, with chief minister Mamata Banerjee announcing that she will contest the upcoming elections from Nandigram.
Here are the key points from TMC’s announcement:
West Bengal is likely to witness a royal fight between Mamata Banerjee and BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram with the TMC supremo accepting the challenge extended by her former aide.
“I am going to Nandigram on March 9. On March 10, I will file the nomination at Haldia,” Mamata told reporters while releasing the list of candidates.
Adhikari, who is the sitting MLA from Nandigram, had switched over to the BJP ahead of the elections, leading a spate of defections from the TMC.
Mamata said that Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay will be contesting from her home turf of Bhowanipore.
50 women, 42 Muslim candidates
The TMC chief said that out of the list of 291 candidates, 50 are women, 79 SCs, 17 STs and 42 Muslims.
“On three seats of north Bengal, we are not putting up our candidates. In three seats – Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong – Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) will contest the elections and whoever wins will support us,” she told reporters.
She said that 23-24 existing TMC MLAs have been dropped due to age and other reasons.
‘Have faith in me’
During the release of her list, Mamata urged the supporters to have faith in her and asserted that only TMC can take West Bengal to new heights.
The chief minister also openly dared the BJP, which is being seen as TMC’s principal opponent this year, saying that she is not afraid of the challenge.
“Amit Shah and Narendra Modi can send as much force as they want, still TMC will win the elections,” she said.
The Trinamool chief accommodated a slew of Bengali film and television industry representatives in the party’s candidate list for the upcoming elections.
Mamata fielded actor Kanchan Mallick, who had joined the Trinamool Congress a few days back, from Hooghly’s Uttarpara; Soham Chakraborty from Chandipur; director Raj Chakraborty from Barrackpore; actress Sayantika from Bankura; actress June Malliah from Midnapore sadar; actress Sayani Ghosh from Asansol south; cricketer Manoj Tiwari from Howrah’s Shibpur and Kaushani Mukherjee from Krishnanagar north assembly constituency.
Despite being a three-cornered contest, the TMC supremo said that several opposition parties have rallied behind her party to give a strong fight to the BJP.
Mamata said that after RJD, SP and Shiv Sena, the TMC has also received support from JMM.
“I thank Tejashwi Yadav, Arvind Kejriwal, Hemant Soren and Shiv Sena for extending their support to me,” Banerjee said.
West Bengal will go to polls in eight phases from March 27 to April 29. The results will be declared on May 2.