Huge protests have started outside the BJP office in Kolkata as the party announced its second list of candidates. Dramatic visuals from the area showed hundreds of people jostling and shouting. Sources said the protesters are from Panchla in Howrah, the twin city of Kolkata that lies across the Ganga.
Others were from Raidighi in South 24 Parganas. The sitting MLA from Raidhigi, Trinamool’s Debashree Roy, quit the party today after being denied poll ticket.
Out to press the case for their leaders, the mob heckled senior leaders Mukul Roy, Arjun Singh, Shiv Prakash. For the BJP, the candidate list for the state’s 294 seats was expected to be a tough balancing act.
Over the last months, a steady stream of leaders from the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress has crossed over to the BJP – all out to grab power, the Trinamool had jeered.
Mukul Roy – the BJP’s first key acquisition from the Trinamool Congress in 2017 – had been an obvious target. Mr Roy is seen as the brains behind the BJP’s sudden rise in the state especially after the 2019 Lok Sabha election in which the party shot up its tally in the state from two to 18 seats.
On its second list last week, the BJP announced 27 candidates for the third phase and 38 candidates for the fourth phase of polls. The list included movie stars, and some MPs, including the party’s two-time Union minister Babul Supriyo.
The list had drawn barbs from Trinamool, which is seeking a third straight term in the state.
The party’s fiery MP Mohua Moitra, known for her outspoken remarks inside the parliament and out, had summed it up. “Loving this slow unfolding of the WB BJP Candidate List soap opera. When “largest global political party” lacks enough faces & strength to announce 294 names in one go for a state it claims it will sweep!” her tweet read.
The mammoth eight-phase elections in Bengal will begin on March 27 and continue till April 29. The votes will be counted on May 2.