Saradha accused, sportsmen, cultural figures in Trinamool list

Kolkata, March 4 (IANS) Within an hour of the election schedule being announced for West Bengal, the ruling Trinamool Congress on Friday released its list of candidates for all 294 assembly seats, re-nominating Saradha ponzi scam accused Madan Mitra.

Mitra, a former minister now behind bars in connection with the multi-billion rupee scandal, would contest from his old constituency Kamarhati in North 24 Parganas district, Chief Minister and Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee announced. Banerjee herself would seek re-election from her constituency Bhowanipore in South Kolkata.

“Yes, obviously, Madan will be contesting. From Kamarhati,” she said.

All ministers in the state cabinet have been nominated. Finance and industries minister Amit Mitra would yet again battle it out from Khardah.

Former India cricketer Laxmi Ratan Shukla would fight his maiden electoral battle on a Trinamool ticket from Howrah North, while late cricket administrator Jagmohan Dalmiya’s daughter Vaishali Dalmiya would contest from Bally in Howrah district and leading Bengali film actor Sohom from Barjora in Bankura district.

The list also includes three celebrated footballers.

Soccer legend Bhaichung Bhutia, who lost the Lok Sabha polls two years back, will try his luck for a second time from Siliguri. Another renowned footballer, Syed Rahim Nabi, is a first-time candidate from Pandua in Hooghly. Ex-India skipper Dipendu Biswas, who lost in a by-poll from Basirhat (South), would fight from the same constituency.

Journalist Prabir Ghoshal has replaced sitting legislator and noted singer Anup Ghoshal at Uttarpara of Hooghly district. Current lawmaker and actress Deboshree Roy is again contesting from Raidighit of South 24 Parganas, while singer Indranil Sen is the Trinamool candidate from Chandernagore.

Banerjee said the party has nominated 45 women candidates, up from 31 in 2011. The number of Muslim candidates has risen from 38 five years ago to 57. However, the Trinamool had contested only 228 seats in 2111, leaving out the rest to its then alliance partner Congress.

The chief minister said 15-17 of her party’s sitting legislators have not got tickets this time around, while the constituencies of some of them have been changed. Over 90 are new faces.

“Those who have not been nominated, will be used for party work. I would have been happy not to give nomination to a couple of other lawmakers. But such decisions about so many people cannot be taken at one go,” she said.

Banerjee said all legislators from other parties who crossed over to the Trinamool over the past five years have been given tickets. Such lawmakers include former state minister and expelled CPI-M leader Abdur Rezzak Mollah, who joined the Trinamool recently. Mollah would file nomination from Bhangar in South 24 Parganas district.

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