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‘Upset’ Bappi beams again

Calcutta, March 20: Bappi Lahiri today attended the inauguration of the BJP’s central election office in north Calcutta, triggering speculation that chances of him contesting the Lok Sabha polls from Bengal were not yet over.

The BJP, which has announced candidates for 40 of the 42 seats in Bengal, is yet to name its nominees for Jadavpur and Serampore.

According to party insiders, Lahiri was being considered for the Jadavpur seat.

Sources said Lahiri was “upset” after his name did not figure in the first two lists of the BJP despite the Mumbai-based music director’s induction into the party at the rally Narendra Modi addressed at Brigade on February 5.

“It’s true that Bappida was upset as his name did not figure in the first two lists. He had communicated his feelings to (Bengal BJP president) Rahul Sinha. Bappida had even said he did not want to stay in touch with the party,” a state BJP vice-president said.

He said the news of Lahiri’s displeasure had trickled down to the party ranks.

A BJP source said although Lahiri was present on the main dais in Brigade along with Modi, those such as actor George Baker and former IPS officer R.K. Mohanty who were seated on another stage were given tickets.

But the music director’s move to attend today’s event, where he was seen smiling and beaming, prompted murmurs about his possible candidature. “I don’t think Bappida would have flown down from Mumbai for the party event had there not been an assurance that he would be nominated,” the BJP vice-president said.

Lahiri told The Telegraph he would be “happy provided I am chosen for the Jadavpur seat”. He, however, declined comment on whether he was upset at not being named in the first two lists.

“I was initially considered for Darjeeling. But I wouldn’t have accepted it because I prefer a seat closer to Calcutta. I can’t forget I am originally a Tollygunge boy who had left his home for Mumbai as an 18-year-old with a dream,” Lahiri said, adding he would be in Calcutta for a few days.

BJP state president Sinha said: “It was a pleasure that I got Bappida to inaugurate my election office for the Calcutta North Lok Sabha seat.”

Sinha said the candidates for the remaining two seats would be announced by the central leadership tomorrow.