Lok Sabha Election

Trinamool Congress includes 41% women candidates in list for Lok Sabha polls

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee leads a ‘walk,’ organised to mark International Women’s Day in Kolkata on March 8, 2019.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Trinamool Congress (TMC) chairperson Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday announced that the party was fielding as many as 17 women candidates in the coming general elections, taking their representation to about 41%.

“Everyone is talking about 33% reservation for women, this time about 41% of our candidates are women,” Ms. Banerjee said announcing the party’s candidates for the 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal. “It is a proud moment for all of us,” she told journalists. In 2014, the TMC had nominated 35% women candidates.

The TMC also replaced candidates for 18 Lok Sabha constituencies. While 17 of them are new faces, actor Sreemati Dev Verma, popularly known as Moon Moon Sen, was moved from Bankura in south Bengal to Asansol, a seat won by the BJP’s Babul Supriyo in 2014.

Detailing the party’s reasoning for the inclusion and omission of candidates, Ms. Banerjee described the coming Lok Sabha elections as the “most challenging” and vowed to remove the BJP from power at the Centre.

“19 May, 2019, will be the end of Modi’s rule. A person who has instilled a sense of fear among the people must go. This is our challenge,” she said.

New faces, omissions

From political greenhorns like actor Mimi Chakraborty contesting from the prestigious Jadavpur seat, once represented by Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and Ms. Banerjee, and Nushrat Khan from Basirhat, the new female faces in the TMC candidates’ list also include political heavyweights like Mala Roy.

Ms. Roy, who joined Bengal’s ruling party a few years ago from the Congress, will contest from the prestigious Kolkata South seat, which was held by the TMC chairperson for decades.

Another surprsise women candidate is Rupali Biswas, whose husband and TMC MLA Satyajit Biswas was killed recently in Nadia district. Ms. Biswas, a homemaker, will be contesting the polls from Ranaghat Lok Sabha seat. Ms. Banerjee said that Ms. Biswas would turn 25 “days before” nomination and would be eligible to contest the polls.

For the Jhargram seat, Uma Soren, the TMC’s tribal face and sitting MP, is replaced by another tribal woman candidate, Birbaha Soren. TMC MLA Mahua Moitra, who was once handpicked by Rahul Gandhi, will contest the Krishnanagar Lok Sabha seat.

Among the notable omissions was Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s grandnephew and Harvard historian Sugata Bose who was elected in 2014 from Jadavpur. “He [Mr. Bose] told me that he is not getting permission to contest from his university,” Ms. Banerjee said.

The Chief Minister said State TMC president Subrata Bakshi had opted not to contest and decided to devote more attention to the party. Idris Ali, a prominent minority face of the party, would contest the Assembly bypoll from Howrah instead.

The list indicates that Ms. Banerjee has given preference to time tested politicians.

Subrata Mukherjee, one of the oldest ministers in the TMC cabinet, will contest from Bankura constituency. Mr. Mukherjee was the youngest face in the Siddhartha Sankar Ray cabinet of the Congress in the early 1970s and is at present the Panchayat Minister of the State. Manas Bhunia, another seasoned politician and former Congress State President, has been nominated from Medinipur constituency.

Sougata Roy, Sisir Adhikari, Dinesh Trivedi, Kalyan Banerjee, C. M. Jatua, Dasrath Tirkey — all sitting MPs — have been renominated.

Answering a question about rumours that some of her trusted colleagues were leaving the party, Ms. Banerjee quipped, “BJP cannot find candidates to put up in all seats, if they ask us, we can lend a few.”

Paresh Chandra Adhikary, who left the Forward Bloc about six months back, has been nominated from Coochbehar. Mr. Adhikary was a minister in the Left Front cabinet. Similarly, Mousam Noor, who left the Congress to join the TMC a few months back, will contest from Malda North constituency.

In Darjeeling, TMC has decided to field Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) MLA Amar Singh Rai. He will contest with the TMC symbol and will be backed by the GJM’s Binay Tamang faction. Footballer Prasun Bhattacharya, theatre director Arpita Ghosh, actors like Satabdi Roy and Dipak Adhikari have also been renominated.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 5:46:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/lok-sabha-2019/trinamool-includes-41-women-candidates-in-list-for-lok-sabha-polls/article26509865.ece

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