Kolkata: Protests erupted in various parts of West Bengal after the BJP, in its first list of 28 candidates, nominated its veterans and defectors from the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) to take on Mamata Banerjee’s party in the state.
With old-timers being overlooked in favour of turncoats and newcomers, protestors gathered outside BJP offices in various parts of West Bengal and, in some places, put up posters of rejected ticket aspirants outside the offices.
BJP state vice-president Raj Kamal Pathak submitted his resignation after he was denied a party ticket. The saffron party, which bagged two Lok Sabha seats in the state in the 2014 elections, is now targeting 23 of the state’s 42 constituencies. However, with infighting breaking out within the party ranks, it looks unlikely that the party will be able to achieve that figure.
Of its 28 candidates, nearly 25 are new faces, with a thrust on active political workers rather than greenhorns from the glamour world. It was clearly evident that the BJP has put faith on its own leaders and defectors from other parties.
“If after serving the party for three decades and holding the post of vice-president do not make me qualified to get a party ticket, it is better to resign from the post,” Pathak, who wanted to contest from the Hooghly constituency said.
The president of the BJP West Bengal unit Dilip Ghosh said efforts will be made to pacify the dissidents. “There can be resentment in some places, but everything can be sorted out through discussions,” he said.
Of the candidates, five had recently defected to the saffron party from the TMC and one from the CPI(M).
Union Minister and BJP MP from Asansol Lok Sabha constituency Babul Supriyo has been renominated from the same seat and is pitted against actor Moon Moon Sen of the TMC. Ghosh will contest from Midnapore against TMC leader Manas Bhunia while BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha will take on TMC heavyweight Sudip Bandopadhyay in Kolkata North Lok Sabha seat.
Former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh, once known to be close to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, will fight it out against TMC candidate and actor Dipak Adhikary, popularly known as ‘Dev’, from Ghatal Lok Sabha constituency.
The BJP has also fielded former TMC MLA Arjun Singh from the Barrackpur Lok Sabha seat. Singh, who had recently joined the saffron party, has been pitted against TMC’s Dinesh Trivedi.