TMC releases candidate list for 42 LS seats, 7 MPs dropped, cricketer Yusuf Pathan among nominees

TMC unveils candidate list; cricketers Yusuf Pathan, Kirti Azad among new faces

Kolkata | The TMC on Sunday released its candidate roster for all 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal, ushering a major overhaul by dropping seven incumbent MPs and introducing numerous new faces, including former cricketer Yusuf Pathan.

The Trinamool Congress maintained a harmonious blend of experienced leaders and fresh talent, amid the alleged power tussle between the old guards and the next-gen leaders.

Film star-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha, who won the Asansol seat in a by-poll on a TMC ticket in 2022, has been re-nominated, while former MP Haji Nurul Islam replaces actor Nusrat Jahan in the Basirhat Lok Sabha seat, where the trouble-torn Sandeshkhali is situated.

While 16 of 23 sitting MPs were retained, the TMC opted not to renominate seven incumbents and notably excluded BJP defector Arjun Singh from Barrackpore, who joined the TMC two years ago.

Among the new faces are 12 women candidates and 26 individuals, including sitting MPs and previous contenders.

Additionally, nine sitting MLAs, including two ministers from the West Bengal cabinet Partha Bhowmick and Biplab Mitra, have been thrust into the Lok Sabha battle.

Addressing a massive rally at Brigade Parade Grounds in Kolkata, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee explained, "I have fielded candidates, some people were dropped. Those who have not been renominated will be accommodated during the assembly polls.

Former cricketer Yusuf Pathan has been nominated from the Baharampur Lok Sabha seat, historically a stronghold of state Congress chief and five-term MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

Mahua Moitra, who was expelled from the Lok Sabha last year in cash for a query case, has been reaffirmed as the party's candidate for the Krishnanagar seat.

Kirti Azad, a former cricketer and party leader, has been nominated for the Bardhaman-Durgapur constituency, previously lost to the BJP in 2019.

Notably, among the nine MLAs nominated for the Lok Sabha polls, BJP defectors Biswajit Das and Mukutmani Adhikari will contest from Bongaon and Ranaghat, strongholds of the Matua community, which the TMC lost to the BJP in 2019.

The TMC has also struck a balance between experienced leaders and new blood, with three-term MPs Sudip Bandopadhyay, Sougata Roy, Satabdi Roy, Kalyan Banerjee, and Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar being re-nominated from their respective seats of North Kolkata, Dum Dum, Birbhum, Serampore and Barasat.

The party has also introduced fresh faces like Saayoni Ghosh, Debangshu Bhattacharya, Gopal Lama, MLA June Maliah, Bapi Haldar, and actress Rachana Banerjee from the seats of Jadavpur, Tamluk, a stronghold of BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari, Darjeeling and Medinipur.

The TMC MPs of Kanthi and Tamluk, Sisir Adhikari and Dibyendu Adhikari, whose names did not feature in the candidate list, have been maintaining a distance from the party after their family member Suvendu Adhikari joined the saffron camp in December 2020.

Additionally, Sujata Mondal Khan has been fielded from the Bishnupur seat against her ex-husband and sitting BJP MP Saumitra Khan.

Former IPS officer Prasun Banerjee, who recently resigned, will contest from Malda North to reclaim the seat from the BJP.

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