The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has begun the process of finalising candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections in four states -- West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Assam and Union Territory Puducherry. According to BJP's West Bengal unit chief Dilip Ghosh, the party's Core Committee of the party met yesterday and discussed the candidates for the first and second phase of the election in the state. Bengal will go to polls in eight phases between March 27 and April 29. Votes will be counted on May 2.
Ghosh told news agency ANI that the party will soon release the names of the candidates for the first and second phase of the elections. He said that the party's state unit has shortlisted on an average of 4-5 names per seat for the initial two phases of polling in the state and the list of candidates for those phases will be finalised on March 4.
The party's Central Election Committee (CEC) that makes the decision of who will contest from which constituency will meet in Delhi on Thursday to finalise the candidates list for 60 seats.
"We have received 120-140 names from our district units for the first two phases. In addition to that, there are hundreds of other names. We had 20-25 names for each seat and from that, we have shortlisted around 4-5 names per seat. There will be some more omission and after that, it is for the party leadership to decide," Ghosh said. "This reflects that people from various walks of life are very eager to join us," he added.
According to a PTI report which quoted BJP sources, the party has decided to field many young faces and professionals during its recent two-day core committee meeting. Apart from the 19 TMC MLAs, including former ministers Rajib Banerjee and Suvendu Adhikari who are most likely to get tickets from their old constituencies, the saffron camp is also expected to nominate several personalities from the Bengali film industry.
The party is in two minds, the PTI report said, on whether to field Adhikari from the Nandigram seat or not. He was the MLA of this seat before resigning and joining the saffron party in December last year. Nandigram will go to polls in the second phase. Trinamool Congress supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hsa already declared that she will contest from the seat.
Meanwhioe, Ghosh's name is also doing the rounds for the Kharagpur Sadar seat which he had won in 2016 before resigning in 2019 after getting elected to the Lok Sabha, and Gopiballupur seat. The BJP later lost the Kharagpur Sadar seat to the TMC during a by-poll.
Later today, a meeting of Assam BJP’s core group is scheduled to take place in Delhi. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and other BJP leaders will meet party’s national president JP Nadda ahead of the Central Election Committee meet. In Assam, polling will happen in three phases. Counting of votes in Assam and West Bengal will take place on May 2.
The saffron party has emerged as the ruling TMC's main rival by winning 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal in the 2019 general elections. With the BJP's strength increasing in the state in the last few years, its leaders are upbeat that the party will end Mamata Banerjee's 10-year rule in the assembly polls. The eight phases polling will take place on March 27, April 1, April 6, April 10, April 17, April 22, April 26 and April 29. Results will be declared on May 2. The term of West Bengal Legislative Assembly will expire on May 30.