The Left Front today announced its candidates for 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal and fielded new faces in 26 constituencies with over 10 candidates who are of less than 40 years of age.
The LF, which had faced severe drubbing in all the elections since the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, has dropped winning candidates of five seats out 15 which it had won last time.
"After discussion in the Left Front we are announcing this list of candidates. We hope that Left candidates will win," Front chairman Biman Bose said.
Five sitting MPs were dropped from the list, while the new faces included Subhasini Ali and the youngest being the 25-year-old Sheikh Ibrahim Ali from the Tamluk seat.
The 26 seats which will see new LF faces also include candidates who had lost the elections from other Lok Sabha or Assembly segments in 2009 and 2011.
Out of the 15 Lok Sabha segments, Alipurduar, Arambagh, Asansol, Balurghat, Bankura, Bardhaman Purba, Bardhaman-Durgapur, Bishnupur, Bolpur, Ghatal, Jalpaiguri, Kanthi, Medinipur, Purulia and Coochbehar, which the Left had won back in 2009, Coochbehar, Balurghat, Ghatal, Bardhaman Purba and Bardhaman-Durgapur will have new faces.
The Ghatal Lok Sabha segment, which was represented by veteran CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta, will now have CPI leader Santosh Rana taking on Trinamool candidate and actor Dev.
Dasgupta had opted out of the polls due to old age issues.
CPI(M) leader Mohammed Salim, who had lost to Trinamool's Sudip Bandopadhyay in the last Lok Sabha elections from the Kolkata North seat, will contest from Raiganj parliamentary constituency and will take on Trinamool candidate Satya Ranjan Dasmunsi, brother of Congress stalwart Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi.
CPI(M) leader Abdul Hasnat, who is also a new entrant in the LF list will take on Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee's nephew Abhishek Banerjee in Diamond Harbour seat.
CPI(M) candidate Sujan Chakraborty, who had to taste defeat in the hands of Trinamool Congress candidate Kabir Suman in 2009, has been pitted against Trinamool candidate Sugata Bose, a Harvard University professor and kin of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, from the Jadavpur Lok Sabha seat.
CPI(M) central committee member Subhasini Ali, daughter of Indian National Army freedom fighters Prem Sehgal and Laxmi Sehgal, has been pitted against Trinamool's Dinesh Trivedi from the Barrackpore constituency.
From the Dum Dum Lok Sabha seat, once a Left citadel, former state finance minister Asim Dasgupta will take on sitting Trinamool MP Saugata Roy.
Veteran CPI(M) parliamentarian and sitting MP from Bankura Lok Sabha segment Basudeb Acharya will take on TMC candidate and actress Moon Moon Sen, daughter of screen diva Suchitra Sen.
From the Darjeeling seat, CPI(M)'s Saman Pathak will take on TMC candidate footballer Baichung Bhutia.
CPI(M) candidate Muzaffar Hossain, has been pitted against sitting TMC MP Haji Nurul Islam in the Jangipur Lok Sabha seat, now held by President Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijit Mukherjee of the Congress.
SFI leader and youngest CPI(M) candidate SK Ibrahim Ali will take on TMC strongman and sitting MP Subhendu Adhikari in the Tamluk seat.
CPI(M)'s Pradip Saha has been pitted against TMC's sitting MP Ratna De Nag from the Hooghly seat, which houses the Singur area.
Asked why the LF had fielded only six women candidates when it was so vocal about women's reservation, Biman Bose said, "This time we have fielded only six women candidates, but from the next election we will field more".
Citing that the candidate list has 12 minority faces, Bose said the LF would stress on door to door campaign and street corners to reach out to the masses, adding an appeal to voters by the state Left Front will be issued in mid-March.
Without naming TMC's candidate list, Bose took a dig at it and said it had lot of surprises.
"We believe the Lok Sabha is a place where elected representatives from political background will highlight the issues of the toiling masses," he said.
When inquired why the LF felt the need to paradrop a candidate like Subhasini Ali, Bose said "Bengal is a state with a big heart. From B R Ambedkar to Krihna Menon all have gone to the Parliament from Bengal. In fact Dinesh Trivedi is also not a son of the soil."
On so many new faces compared to 2009 when the LF fielded 17 such candidates, the LF chairman said "It is strange that if you don't field a new face, people ask why old faces are there and when we have fielded new faces, you are asking why we have fielded so many of them."
The following is the Left Front's list of candidates for 42 seats in the Lok Sabha poll in West Bengal:
1 - Dipak Kumar Roy (AIFB) (Cooch Behar)
2 - Monohar Tirkey (RSP)(Alipurduar)
3 - Mahendra Kumar Roy (CPI-M) (Jalpaiguri)
4 Saman Pathak (CPI-M) (Darjeeling)
5 - Mohammed Salim (CPI-M)( (Raiganj)
6 - Bimal Sarkar (RSP) (Balurghat)
7 - Khagen Murmu (CPI-M) (Malda North)
8 - Abul Hasnet Khan (CPI-M) (Malda South)
9 - Muzzafar Hossain (CPI-M) (Jangipur)
10 - Pramathes Mukherjee (RSP)(Baharampur)
11 - Badarudzza Khan (CPI-M) (Murshidabad)
12 - Dr. Santanu Jha (CPI-M) (Krishnagar)
13 - Archana Biswas (CPI-M) (Ranaghat)
14 - Dr Debesh Das (CPI-M) (Bongaon)
15 - Subhasini Ali (CPI-M) (Barrackpur)
16 - Dr. Asim Dasgupta (CPI-M) (Dum Dum)
17 - Dr. Murtazza Hossen (AIFB) (Barasat)
18 - Nurul Huda (CPI) (Basirhat)
19 - Subhas Naskar (RSP)(Joynagar)
20 - Rnku Naskar (CPI-M) (Mathurapur)
21 - Dr Abdul Hasnat (CPI-M) (Diamond Harbour)
22 - Dr Sujan Chakraborty (CPI-M) (Jadavpur)
23 - Dr Nandini Mukherjee (CPI-M) (Kolkata South)
24 - Rupa Bagchi (CPI-M) (Kolkata North)
25 - Sreedip Bhattacharya (CPI-M) (Howrah)
26 - Sabiruddin Mollah (CPI-M) (Uluberia)
27 - Tirthankar Roy (CPI-M) (Srirampur)
28 - Pradip Saha (CPI-M) (Hooghly)
29 - Shakti Mohan Malik (CPI-M) (Arambag)
30 - Sheikh Ibrahim ALi (CPI-M) (Tamluk)
31 - Tapas Sinha (CPI-M) (Kanthi)
32 - Santosh Rana (CPI) (Ghatal)
33 - Dr. Pulin Behari Baskey (CPI-M) (Jhargram)
34 - Probodh Panda (CPI) (Medinipur)
35 - Narahari Mahato (AIFB) (Purulia)
36 - Basudeb Acharya (CPI-M)(Bankura)
37 - Susmita Bauri (CPI-M) (Bishnupur)
38 - Ishwar Chandra Das (CPI-M) (Bardhaman East)
39 - Sheikh Saidul Haque (CPI-M) (Bardhaman Durgapur)
40 - Bangsha Gopal Choudhury (CPI-M) (Asansol)
41 - Dr Ramchandra Dom (CPI-M) (Bolpur)
42 - Dr Kamre Elahi (CPI-M)(Birbhum)