Yusuf Pathan, Shatrughan Sinha, Rachana Banerjee Among 42 Candidates TMC Announced For LS Polls In Bengal

12 of the listed candidates are women, while six of the 26 new candidates have no previous experience in politics.

TMC announces 42 candidates for LS polls Photo: PTI

The Trinamool Congress announced its list of candidates for all 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal on Sunday. The announcement marked a notable shift in the party as it omitted seven sitting MPs while introduced a list of new faces, including former cricketer Yusuf Pathan.

Amidst speculations of a power struggle between established leaders and the emerging next-generation figures within the party, the Trinamool Congress strategically balanced its candidate roster.

While 16 of 23 sitting MPs were retained, 12 of the listed candidates are women, while six of the 26 new candidates have no previous experience in politics.

Due to controversy surrounding claims of misconduct by TMC leaders in Sandeshkhali, the party decided to make a change in the Basirhat Lok Sabha seat. Former MP Haji Nurul Islam has been brought in to replace actor Nusrat Jahan in this area affected by trouble and accusations.

Abhishek Banerjee becomes candidate in his bastion Diamond Harbour.

While speaking about bringing in fresh faces and dropping sitting MPs, the TMC supremo said, "I have fielded candidates, some people were dropped. Those who have not been re-nominated will be accommodated during the assembly polls."

Former cricketer Yusuf Pathan has been selected as a candidate from Baharampur, which has traditionally been a stronghold of Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the state Congress chief and a five-term Member of Parliament.

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 from Krishnanagar.

Film star-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha, who won the Asansol seat in a bypoll on a TMC ticket in 2022, has been re-nominated.

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

Party's Rajya Sabha MP Prakash Chik Baraik will take on Union minister and BJP MP Nisith Pramanik from Cooch Behar.

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.

Bhattacharya, a party spokesperson and youth leader, gained instant fame during the 2021 assembly polls by coining the slogan and the song "Khela Hobe", which went on to become a template for the party campaign against the BJP.

Rachana Banerjee will be pitted against BJP's sitting MP Locket Chatterjee from Hooghly, where the Singur area, known for anti-land acquisition protests against the erstwhile Left regime, is situated.

The party has nominated five political newcomers for the Lok Sabha elections including Yusuf Pathan, actor Rachana Banerjee, Kalipada Soren, a renowned Santhali playwright who has received the Padma Shri award, psychiatrist Sharmila Sarkar, and Shahnawaz Ali Raihan, a PhD scholar from Oxford University.

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.

Additionally, a Rajya Sabha MP and nine MLAs, including two state ministers Partha Bhowmick and Biplab Mitra, have been thrust into the Lok Sabha battle.

Nirmal Chandra Roy has been nominated for Jalpaiguri seat, Krishna Kalyani for Raigunj, Shahnawaz Ali Raihan for Malda south, Khalilur Rehman for Jangipur, Abu Teher Khan for Murshidabad, Mukutmani Adhikari for Ranaghat, Biswajit Das for Bangaon, Sajdah Ahmed for Uluberia, June Malia for Medinipur, Shantiram Mahato for Purulia, Arup Chakraborty for Bankura, Asit Kumar Mal for Bolpur and Jagdish Chandra Basuniya for Coochbehar.

Interestingly, the party has replaced candidates in all the eight seats in North Bengal, which it lost to the BJP and the Congress in 2019. The BJP secured seven seats, while the Congress won one seat in North Bengal in the last LS polls.

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.

the TMC opted not to re-nominate seven incumbents and notably excluded BJP defector Arjun Singh from Barrackpore, who joined the TMC two years ago.