Union minister of state Babul Supriyo, former Trinamool minister Rajib Banerjee, Rajya Sabha member Swapan Dasgupta and economist Ashok Lahiri figure in the list of 63 candidates released by BJP on Sunday for the third and fourth phases of the Bengal assembly polls.
Supriyo, the Lok Sabha member from Asansol, is among four MPs fielded by the party in key assembly constituencies. The Union minister of state for environment, forest and climate change will be contesting the Tollygunge seat. Hooghly MP Locket Chatterjee has been given the party ticket for Chinsurah, Coochbehar MP Nisith Pramanik for Dinhata and Rajya member Dasgupta for Hooghly’s Tarakeswar.
BJP has fielded former chief economic advisor Lahiri in north Bengal's Alipurduar. An alumnus of the erstwhile Presidency College, Lahiri had also served as executive director at the Asian Development Bank and director of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.
Apart from Rajib Banerjee, who is the candidate for Howrah’s Domjur seat, another former Trinamool minister who recently crossed over to BJP – 88-year-old Rabindranath Bhattacharya, popularly known as Mastermoshai – will be flying the saffron party's flag in Singur.
The other defectors who have been handed tickets by BJP are Dipak Haldar (ex-TMC) for Diamond Harbour, Rinku Naskar (ex-CPM) for the Jadavpur seat, Prabir Ghoshal (ex-TMC) for Uttarpara, Biswanath Karak (ex-Forward Bloc) for Goghat, Manoj Oraon (formerly RSP) for Kumargram and Dilip Singh (a former TMC-backed trade union leader) for Champdani.
Like Trinamool, the BJP list has some names from the film industry. Actor Yash Dasgupta will be taking on Trinamool and CPM in Hooghly’s Chanditala. Actors Payal Sarkar and Tanushree Chakraborty will contest the Behala East and Shyampur seats. Artiste Anjana Basu has been fielded in Sonarpur South.
Two professionals other than Lahiri and journalist Rantideb Sengupta have made it to the list. Advocate Kabir Shankar Bose is the BJP candidate for Serampore and oncologist Indranil Khan is its nominee for the Kasba assembly seat.
Suvendu files nomination from Nandigram
BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari called himself a "bhoomiputra" as he filed his documents to contest the election from Nandigram, where he has challenged his former mentor Mamata Banerjee.
"I am a bhoomiputra (son of this land) and I will win," Suvendu declared after filing his election papers at Nandigram. A voter in the Kanthi constituency where he lives, Suvendu also said he has now become a voter from the Nandigram seat and got a voter card to that effect. He has in recent days been calling his poll rival Mamata Banerjee an outsider. "She comes only once in five years to Nandigram, before the elections," Suvendu said recently, adding, "Don't vote for outsiders."