LF drops 9 ministers, many sitting MLAs

Kolkata: Apparently fearing anti-incumbency, the Left Front on Sunday dropped nine ministers and a number of sitting MLAs as it announced a list of 292 candidates for the West Bengal Assembly polls – its toughest electoral battle since assuming power in 1977.

The list, which was announced in a press conference by Left front chairman Biman Bose, includes 149 new faces — 15 more than the last time.

Of the 292 candidates announced, the CPI-M will field 210, Forward Bloc 34, RSP 23, CPI 12, WBSP 5, RCPI, MFB and DSP 2 each and RJD and Biplobi Bangla Congress one. The state has 294-member Assembly.

Announcing the list after a crucial LF meeting which ratified the names of candidates, Bose said nominees for Serampore in Hooghly district and Kalimpong in Darjeeling district would be announced later.

Assembly Speaker H A Halim and Deputy Speaker Bhaktipada Ghosh as well as LF chief whip Syed Masiha have decided not to contest on health ground, Bose said.

The minister who have been denied tickets this time are – Manab Mukherjee, Partha Dey, Nandogopal Bhattacharjee, Bankim Ghosh, Rabin Ghosh, Benoy Krishan Biswas, Rabindranth Hembram, Yogesh Chandra Barman and Tapan Roy.

On the reason for not fielding these ministers, Bose said some of them declined to contest and wanted to work for the party.

Chief Minsiter Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has been renominated from Jadavpur.

Prominent among the Left Front candidates are ministers Nirupam Sen (Burdwan-South), Surya Kanta Mishra (Narayangar), Ashok Bhattacharya (Siliguri), Kanti Ganguly (Raidighi), Abdul Rezzak Mollah (Canning-East) and Debesh Das (Entally).

Constituencies of some ministers have been changed which includes that of Goutam Deb, who will contest from Dum Dum.

Fuad Halim, son of Speaker H A Halim, will contest from Ballygunge.

Bose said the list also included 46 women candidates, 14 more than in 2006. Besides, 56 Muslims are in the fray.

Polling in the six-phase elections will be held April 18, 23, 27, May 3, 7 and 10. Counting will take place on May 13.