Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced on Friday the list of 291 candidates of the Trinamool Congress for the upcoming assembly elections, which will take place in eight phases between March 27 and April 29.
Banerjee confirmed she will contest the high-profile Nandigram seat, which shot to limelight following violence linked to an agitation against land acquisition by the then Left government in 2007. She also said she would not contest her traditional seat in south Kolkata’s Bhabanipur, which will go to “my friend and colleague Sovandeb Chattopadhyay”.
“When I make a promise, I keep it,” she said of her December decision to fight from Nandigram, a seat her aide-turned-rival Suvendu Adhikari won in 2016. Incidentally, her first announcement had come at a rally in Nandigram. There are speculations that Adhikari, who has joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and turned into a fierce critic of Banerjee, might take her on from what is considered his bastion.
Banerjee also announced dropping over 25 sitting legislators (some of them ministers), and those above 80 in view of the pandemic situation. She announced that the Trinamool’s allies will fight three seats (Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong) in the hills. West Bengal has 294 assembly seats.
Of the Trinamool candidates, 50 are women, 42 from the minorities, 79 from the Scheduled Castes and 17 from the Scheduled Tribes. Banerjee said focus had also been given to youth power, with 27-28 seats given to youngsters.
“We are residents of Bengal and we understand its culture, history and legacy…. I have full faith in my people who understand that bringing in the BJP (to power) would spell doom for our state,” she said.