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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 16 April 2024

Lok Sabha polls: BJP names Suvendu Adhikari's brother in list of 20 candidates from Bengal

In West Midnapore’ Ghatal Trinamul’s star MP Dev will face the BJP’s actor-MLA Hiranmay Chattopadhyay renewing their long on and off-screen rivalry

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 02.03.24, 08:04 PM
Hiranmay Chattopadhyay and Dev

Hiranmay Chattopadhyay and Dev File picture

The ruling BJP on Saturday stole a march over its political opponents as it released the first list of 195 candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the dates for which are yet to be finalized, including 20 seats in Bengal.

Among the fresh faces in the list was Soumendu Adhikari, the younger brother of the leader of Opposition in the Bengal legislative Assembly Suvendu Adhikari. Soumendu has been fielded from Contai in East Midnapore, which has been held by the Adhikari family patriarch Sisir since 2009.

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Soumendu Adhikari, younger brother of Suvendu Adhikari, fielded from Contai in East Midnapore.

Soumendu Adhikari, younger brother of Suvendu Adhikari, fielded from Contai in East Midnapore. Telegraph picture

In Asansol, which has a sizeable Hindi-speaking population, the party is banking on Bhojpuri actor-singer Pawan Singh to take on the sitting Trinamul MP Shatrughan Sinha, veteran Hindi film actor. The Trinamul is yet to announce its list of candidates.

In West Midnapore’ Ghatal Trinamul’s star MP Dev will face the BJP’s actor-MLA Hiranmay Chattopadhyay, known by his screen name Hiran, renewing their long on and off-screen rivalry.

Ties between the Adhikari family and the Trinamul Congress especially Mamata Banerjee worsened after Suvendu moved to the BJP ahead of the 2021 Assembly polls, in which Mamata lost to the Adhikari family scion from Nandigram.

Another member of the Adhikari family, Dibyendu is the Trinamul MP from Tamluk. It is unlike either Sisir or Dibyendu will get a nomination from their respective seats. The BJP has not yet announced the candidate for the Tamluk seat.

The party also did not announce the names for the two Lok Sabha seats, Arambagh and Krishnagar where Narendra Modi held meetings. He has another public meeting scheduled for March 6 at Barasat.

Sitting MPs like BJP state president Sukanto Mazumdar (Balurghat), Nisith Pramanik (Cooch Behar), Subhas Sarkar (Bankura), Shantanu Thakur (Bongaon), Jagannath Sarkar (Ranaghat), Khagen Murmu (Maldah North), Locket Chatterjee (Hooghly). Saumitra Khan (Bishnupur) and Jyotirmoy Singh Mahato (Purulia) have been re-nominated.

In 2019, the BJP had won 18 seats of which one Arjun Singh from Barrackpore defected to the Trinamul. Babul Supriyo, two-time BJP MP from Asansol had stepped down and joined the Trinamul in 2021.

The incumbent Alipurduar MP John Barla has been replaced by the Madarihat MLA Manoj Tigga. The Englishbazar MLA Srirupa Mitra Chowdhury has been fielded from Maldah South.

Other nominees are Anirban Ganguly from Jadavpur, Nirmal Kumar Saha from Berhampore, Gouri Shankar Ghosh from Murshidabad, Priya Saha from Bolpur, Rathin Chakraborty from Howrah and Ashok Kandari from Joynagar.

“Some of them have contested elections in the past but could not win. They have been working tirelessly for the party and we believe stand a good chance in the Lok Sabha polls to increase our tally from the state,” said a state BJP functionary.

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