New Delhi: On Tuesday, Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced her party’s list of 42 candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, with 41% of them being women.
Banerjee claimed that her party, which is contesting all seats in the state and has dropped ten sitting MPs, was determined to oust Prime Minister Narendra Modi from power. She added that she wished to campaign in Varanasi, which is Modi’s constituency.
— ANI (@ANI) March 12, 2019
“There are some new candidates this time and some former candidates will not contest. We have fielded about 41% women candidates this time, which is a record in itself… We want to win all 42 seats and our challenge is to remove Modi from power,” she said, while maintaining that those who have been dropped from the list would be drafted for party work.”
The TMC will also contest elections from Assam, Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa and the Andamans, she said.
Banerjee used the announcement to target the Centre on a range of issues such as rising unemployment, alleged corruption surrounding the Rafale deal and distress faced by the country’s farmers. She even claimed that “VVIPs” were using helicopters and chartered flights to transport money in order to bribe voters.
Regarding the Darjeeling seat, which was previously won by the BJP, she announced that her party had struck an alliance with the Binay Tamang-led faction of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM).
“GJM leader Amar Singh Rai will contest the election from Darjeeling on a TMC ticket. He will quit his party and join TMC to contest the polls,” she said.
Banerjee announced the candidature of two Tollywood actresses – Nushrat Jahan and Mimi Chakraborty – for the Basirhat and Jadavpur seats. In addition, state panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee will contest the elections, she said.
“Moon Moon Sen will be our candidate from Asansol (previously won by BJP’s Babul Supriyo) and Satabdi Roy from Birbhum,” she said. Uma Soren, Subrata Bakshi, Sandhya Roy, Idris Ali, among others, will not be fielded this time.
Polling in West Bengal will be held over seven phases, beginning on April 11, the Election Commission announced on Sunday. The counting of votes for all seats will take place on May 23.
Banerjee, highlighting the share that women had in her party’s nominations, said that the TMC had reserved 35% of seats for female candidates in the past too.
On Sunday, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik had struck a similar note, saying that his party, the Biju Janata Dal, would field 33% women among its candidates for the polls.