West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday announced candidates for 291 of the 294 Assembly seats in the State. The Bimal Gurung faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha will announce names for remaining three seats of the Darjeeling hills. The Trinamool Congress chairperson said she would contest from the Nandigram Assembly constituency of Purba Medinipur district.
“I will contest from Nandigram, I had given my word and will stick to it,” she said. She made it clear that she would not contest Kolkata’s Bhawanipur seat, which she had represented for the past two terms.
The party’s candidates’ list comprises people from different sections of society such as women, youth, film stars, sportspersons and retired bureaucrats. The list has 51 women, 79 SC and 17 ST candidates.
Ms. Banerjee said the party had taken a decision not to field anyone above 80 years of age. It would set up a Bidhan Parishad to accommodate several senior leaders who were not contesting. Finance Minister Amit Mitra and Minister for Technical Education Purnendu Bose would not contest now.
Former Indian cricketer Manoj Tiwari would contest from Shibpur in Howrah district and film-maker Raj Chakraborty from Barrackpore. Popular actor Kanchan Mullick would contest from Uttarpara and actor Ladli Moitra from Sonarpur Dakshin. Minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay would contest from Bhawanipur and journalist Vivek Gupta from Jorasanko in the city.
Mamata thanks leaders
Ms. Banerjee thanked NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, SP’s Akhilesh Yadav, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren and other leaders who have extended support to her. “Bengal will be administered by people of the State and not by outsiders who are trying to capture with the help of goons,” she said. Ms Banerjee also expressed the hope that the elections would be fair. The Central forces should not act as per instructions of the BJP, she said.
“Better not say anything about the CPI(M) and the Congress. They have a 100 per cent understanding with the BJP,” she stated. The Trinamool Congress was contesting alone against all with all transparency.
She also raised questions as to why the Election Commission of India ( ECI) was sending officers against whom the TMC had complained in the past. “We respect the ECI but they should not play the BJP’s game. This time, we are going to be very aggressive and will fight till the end,” she added.