As West Bengal gears up for assembly elections, the message to Trinamool Congress leaders from the party’s top brass is clear – wrap the city in posters, banners and party flags before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally on March 7.
Sources said the candidates for the elections were decided by party chief Mamata Banerjee herself. Workers have been asked to not bother about who becomes a candidate and instead focus on campaigning for candidates who are decided by Banerjee.
Focus should be given to TMC’s central election slogan: Bangla Nijer Meyekei Chay (Bengal wants its own daughter only), while special attention should be paid to areas where BJP has made inroads as evident from 2019 general election results.
Banerjee will release the complete list of candidates for all the 294 constituencies in West Bengal on March 5. The list will have several new faces including youth leaders, celebrities and people from the civil society. There will be at least five cabinet ministers who will be asked to contest from other constituencies, while some may not get tickets on health grounds and due to old age factors.
On the candidate’s list, Mamata had earlier said that the battle in Bengal is between her and the BJP and it does not matter who will contest on behalf of the TMC and from where. “Just think that I am contesting from all the 294 seats and vote for TMC so that we can give a befitting reply to BJP,” she had said.
This is for the first time when the TMC and BJP are taking so long to announce the candidates list after the Election Commission’s announcement on February 26.
Questioning the eight-phase assembly elections in West Bengal, Banerjee had said she suspects the dates were announced as per the suggestions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for better management of the BJP’s poll campaign.
The first phase of polling in West Bengal will be on March 27, the second phase on April 1, the third phase on April 6 and the fourth on April 10. The fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth phases will be held on April 17, April 22, April 26 and April 29, respectively.
The EC will appoint two special observers for Bengal and a third can also be sent if required, said Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora in response to queries on whether enough arrangements are in place for the polls in the state where many have been raising questions about political violence.