Kolkata, March 5: Combining the worlds of glamour, sports and politics, the Trinamool Congress Wednesday announced a star-studded candidates list from West Bengal including the likes of Bengali megastar Dev, actor Moon Moon Sen and soccer icon Baichung Bhutia for the April-May Lok Sabha polls.
Announcing the names at her residence hours after the Election Commission notified the polls, party chairperson Mamata Banerjee said: “It’s a great combination of people from various parts of the society.”
The Trinamool ,which had contested 27 seats following an alliance with the Congress and the Socialist Unity Centre of India-Communist (SUCI-C) in 2009, is going it alone this year.
Four winning candidates of 2009 were dropped, and 26 fresh faces including Banerjee’s nephew and Trinamool Yuva president Abhishek Bandopadhyay nominated.
Bhutia, who retired from football in 2012, will contest the election from Darjeeling – currently held by Bharatiya Janata Party’s Jaswant Singh.
Another former India soccer captain Prasun Banerjee, who won the Howrah seat in a bypoll last year, has been renominated from the same.
Besides Dev from Ghatal in West Midnapore district, Moon Moon, – daughter of legendary Bengali heroine Suchitra Sen and herself a film actress – will be in fray from Bankura against Communist Party of India-Marxist veteran Basudeb Acharia. He has been winning the seat since 1980.
Banerjee also announced that Bengali cien stars and incumbenet MPs Satabdi Roy and Tapas Pal will again contest from Birbhum and Krishnanagar respectively.
“We have given priority to film stars because of their appeal and reach,” she said at a crowded media meet at her residence in south Kolkata’s Kalighat, claiming the Trinamool will be the country’s third largest party.
Banerjee, who will be addressing public rallies in several parts of the country including Gujarat, also announced an initial list of two candidates each for Manipur, Tripura and Jharkhand.
Sugata Bose, a grand nephew of great revolutionary Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and professor at Harvard University, has been named the party nominee from Jadavpur, from where his mother Krishna had won thrice consecutively in 1996, 1998 and 1999.
Bose replaces famed singer Kabir Suman, who turned a rebel after winning from Jadavpur as a Trinamool candidate in 2009.
Soumitra Roy, a lead singer of popular Bengali band Bhoomi, is being fielded from Malda North constituency in Malda district.
Theatre personality Arpita Ghosh has bagged the Trinamool ticket from Balurghat in South Dinajpur district, while veteran Bengali actress Sandhya Roy would battle in Midnapore.
Eminent singer Indranil Sen would try his luck from Berhampore in Murshidabad district, from where the Congress is likely to again field its state chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.
Bandopadhyay would fight the elections from Diamond Harbour in South 24 Parganas. In 2009, veteran leader Somen Mitra had won the seat on Trinamool ticket, but switched over to the Congress recently.
Apart from Mitra and Suman, sitting MPs Sucharu Haldar and Gobindra Chandra Naskar were dropped. Basirhat MP Haji Nurul has been shifted to Jangipur.
In Raiganj of North Dinapur district, ailing Congress leader Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi’s brother Satyaranjan Dasmunshi would be the Trinamool candidate. Raiganj is now represented by P R Dasmunshi’s wife and union minister Deepa, a staunch critic of Banerjee.
Trinamool, which had won 19 of the 42 seats from the state in the 2009 elections, has fielded 11 women candidates this time.
“We are fielding 11 women candidates which perhaps is the highest. Seven candidates are from the minority community,” said Banerjee.