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Mamata Banerjee fields 42 Muslim candidates

NEW DELHI — Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee has given tickets to as many as 42 Muslim candidates out of the 291 seats in which the ruling formation has fielded its candidates for the forthcoming Assembly elections in West Bengal, to be held in eight phases from March 27 to April 29.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has repeatedly attacked the Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress for its ‘appeasement’ politics in the past.

Besides giving importance to candidates from the minority community, Banerjee has also given tickets to 50 women candidates, 79 SC nominees and 17 ST candidates.

Retired IPS officer and former top cop Humayun Kabir has been fielded from West Midnapore’s Debra constituency, while Siddikullah Chowdhury will be contesting from Monteswar in East Burdwan on a Trinamool ticket.

“I’m confident about Trinamool’s win. I joined the party from the police force to save the democratic fabric of Bengal,” Kabir said.

On the other hand, a section Trinamool activists staged an agitation at Bhangar in Kolkata’s adjoining South 24 Parganas district as local Trinamool old gun and ex-MLA Arabul Islam was not given a ticket to contest the Assembly polls. Arabul also broke down in tears in public after the list of candidates was announced on Friday.

Md Rezaul Karim will contest from Bhangar on a Trinamool ticket.

“It seems that the party does not need me any more. I have always been with the Trinamool Congress, but that need is now over. I have always tried to stand by the people of Bhangar. Now I will only do what they will ask me to do,” Arabul said.

His supporters even set things on fire in the locality and put up road blockades. Arabul himself ransacked his own party office in the area.

Similar incidents took place elsewhere too, with dissenting Trinamool activists taking out protest rallies in different districts as soon as the party released its candidates’ list for the high-voltage Assembly polls.

One such agitation took place in Amdanga where two-time legislator from the seat, Rafikul Ahmed, was not considered for a ticket. Instead, the ticket was given to an outsider, the agitators claimed.

Meanwhile, Banerjee said that as many as 23-24 existing Trinamool legislators were dropped from the candidates’ list owing to their age-related issues and other reasons.

Announcements for the remaining three constituencies in Darjeeling have been put on hold as they would be contested by Trinamool allies.

–IANS

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