The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday released the list of 57 candidates for first two phases of the forthcoming assembly elections in West Bengal. The polls will be conducted in 8 phases, beginning March 27 while the final phase will be held on April 29. The counting of votes will take place on May 2. There are a total of 294 Assembly seats in West Bengal.
Announcing BJP first list of candidates, party's General Secretary Arun Singh said, "Central Election Committee has approved the names of candidates on 57 seats for West Bengal Assembly elections."
As expected, BJP named didi's former close aide Suvendu Adhikari from Nandigram. Suvendu will be contesting against Mamata Banerjee, who on Friday announced that she would contest from Nandigram. The assembly constituency is a stronghold of Suvendu.
Nandigram is a stronghold of Adhikari, who was elected on a Trinamool ticket from the high profile seat in 2016 before he became a minister in the Mamata Banerjee-led state Cabinet. Adhikari had joined the saffron brigade in December last year. The rebel Trinamool leader had claimed earlier that he will defeat Banerjee by over 50,000 votes.
The BJP has fielded former India cricketer Ashok Dinda from the Moyna Assembly constituency in East Midnapore, while ex-IPS officer Bharati Ghosh will contest on a BJP ticket from Debra in West Midnapore. Dinda and Ghosh recently joined the BJP.
The first list of 56 BJP candidates includes six women -- Sunita Singha from Kanthi Uttar, Sonali Murmu from Keshiary (ST), Chandana Bauri from Saltora (SC), Tapashi Mondal from Haldia (SC), Antara Bhattacharya from Pingla and former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh from Debra.
Singh said that AJSU has supported the party on several occasions and that is why the party has decided to give one seat to it in West Bengal. He further said that names of BJP candidates for three remaining seats going to the polls in the first two phases will be announced soon.
Announcing the list, Singh said that a wave of ‘Poribortan' (change) is clearly visible in West Bengal
Out of 294 assembly seats in Bengal, reserved seats for Scheduled Caste are 68 and Schedule Tribes are 16. There will be around 1.1 lakh polling booths in the state for the people to cast their vote.
On Friday, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) released the full list of its 291 candidates for the upcoming polls. Releasing the candidates' list, Mamata Banerjee announced that she will contest from Nandigram, against former close aide Suvendu Adhikari, who left the party and joined the BJP.
BJP had also released the first list of candidates for Assam assembly elections, which will be conducted in 3 phases beginning March 27.
The forthcoming assembly elections in Bengal is being touted to be the most awaited as it will see a tough contest between the BJP and ruling TMC. The BJP has plugged its full battery of star campaigners including PM Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, party chief JP Nadda, National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and others.