BJP leaders in some districts in north Bengal where the party today announced its election candidates gave a mixed reaction to the selection.
In Malda, a “fake” list that had gone viral on social media some days ago did not match the final list announced today. The final selection of some BJP candidates today drew mixed reaction, with a group of party workers ransacking a party office in Harishchandrapur.
Only four names like Gour Chandra Mandal, the sabhadhipati of the Malda Zilla Parishad (Manikchak constituency), Motiur Rahaman (Harishchandrapur), Gopal Chandra Saha (Maldaha) and Sreerupa Mitra Choudhury (English Bazaar) matched with the “fake list.”
The other candidates declared today were Joel Murmu and Swadhin Sarkar, two outgoing MLAs from Habibpur and Baishnabnagar, respectively, who will contest the elections from their respective seats. The candidate for the parliamentary elections in 2019 from South Malda, Sreerupa Mitra Choudhury, will contest from English Bazaar against former state minister Krishnendu Narayan Choudhury of the TMC. The others are Chinmoy Deb Barman from Gazole, Abhishek Singhania from Ratua, Shyamchand Ghosh from Mothabari, Shaikh Jiyauddin from Sujapur and Mousumi Ghosh from Malatipur.
Meanwhile a group of BJP activists ransacked the party office in Harishchandrapur, demanding that the party change the candidate there. The protesters said that the candidate was an “outsider.” They also alleged involvement of money in the selection process.
Malda district president of the party, Gobinda Chandra Mandal, however, said, “If someone alleges bribery, it is totally false. The people ransacking the party office will be identified and we will see if they actually belong to the party.”
As Krishna Kalyani, an industrialist, was chosen by the BJP to contest the elections in Raiganj in North Dinajpur district, a group of BJP leaders and supporters hit the Raiganj streets, welcoming the decision. On the other hand, it is learnt that another group of BJP workers opposed Kalyani’s selection and said the fight for the party in Raiganj has now become tough as the candidate had just joined the BJP from the TMC and that he was not an important leader. However, no one spoke against the selection in public.
The BJP announced the names of candidates for seven of the nine constituencies in North Dinajpur. The candidates for Itahar and Karandighi seats are yet to be declared.
Late Dindayal Kalyani, the father of Krishna Kalyani, was a TMC councillor in Raiganj town. “Being an industrialist, Krishna Kalyani had a connection with the then state forest minister Rajib Banerjee and state transport minister Suvendu Adhikari,” a source said.
Kalyani, however, said today that he has no ill feeling against BJP leaders in the district. “We expect all BJP members to work for me and I will win the elections,” he said.
North Dinajpur president of the BJP Biswajit Lahiri said, “As Mr Kalyani was selected by our state leaders, we will have to work for him. We will have to work for the party and not a person this time.”
For South Dinajpur district, the party is yet to announce the candidate for the Balurghat seat.
In Gangarampur in the district, a group of BJP supporters protested the selection of Satyan Roy, who joined the BJP only a few months ago. For the Kushmandi seat, the party picked senior BJP leader Ranjit Roy, who has remained the district president and vice-president of the BJP in the past. For the Harirampur seat, the party chose Nilanjan Roy, the former Congress district president who joined the BJP before the parliamentary elections.
In the Kumarganj Assembly seat, Manash Sarkar will contest the elections, while Budhrai Tudu will contest from the Tapan seat. Though the name of the candidate for Balurghat has not been announced, there are several aspirants who have applied for the slot, sources said. “We have confidence in our leaders. They will select the perfect candidate for us,” said the South Dinajpur president of the BJP, Binay Barman.
(With inputs from Malda, North Dinajpur and South Dinajpur)