BJP candidate list delay worries ranks in Alipurduar and Cooch Behar
BJP leaders in Alipurduar and Cooch Behar have expressed anguish over the delay in announcing nominees for the two seats, the disquiet resonating across the state on a day the Bengal unit urged central leaders to speed up candidate selections for all 42 constituencies.
“The last date for nominations for the two seats is March 25. We are running against time and keeping fingers crossed,” said Malati Rava, the Cooch Behar BJP chief.
The delay — BJP leaders claim internal feedback suggests good prospects in the two constituencies — comes at a time rivals have declared their nominees and hit the campaign trail.
“There will be holidays on March 21 (Holi), March 23 (fourth Saturday) and March 24 (Sunday). Thus, we are left with March 22 and March 25. If the names are not announced by Wednesday night, we fear we would be left with only the last date. All of us are worried as nomination filing is a complex process and there can be mistakes in the last-minute rush which may even lead to cancellation of candidatures,” said a BJP leader in Alipurduar.
According to another leader, supporters are anguished.
“There are reports that in the Dinhata sub-division of Cooch Behar and the Birpara-Madarihat block of Alipurduar, supporters have expressed anguish over the delay,” said a BJP leader.
Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh shrugged off the worries. “The boy who comes first in class prepares through the year. There is no point worrying over lack of time for campaigning,” said Ghosh.
Several BJP leaders admitted the delay was embarrassing as Trinamul had announced its candidates over a week ago on March 12.
“The Congress and the Left have also announced nominees. We are calling ourselves contenders for the two seats but we can’t announce the names of our candidates,” said a BJP leader.
State leaders, including Ghosh, have been camping in Delhi for the past two days but, according to sources, the central leadership was busy with Uttar Pradesh.
Even if candidates file nominations by March 25, they will be left with less than a fortnight for campaign, another leader said.
“If we start campaigning from March 26, we get only 14 days till April 9 as the elections are scheduled on April 11. It will be tough to extensively cover all seven Assembly segments. In Alipurduar, there are booths in remote areas like tea gardens and the Buxa Hills.”
Additional Reporting by Sandip Chowdhury