The Bharatiya Janata Party Saturday released its first list of candidates for 57 seats for the West Bengal Assembly elections scheduled to take place later this month. The saffron party has pitted ex-TMC leader ad turncoat Suvendu Adhikari against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram.
The list contains names of candidates on constituencies going to polls in phase 1 and 2 of the eight-phased election.
Other noted names in the list include former Indian cricketer Ashoke Dinda and ex-IPS officer Bharati Ghosh.
The saffron party has left one seat, Baghmundi, vacant for its ally All Jharkhand Students Union in the West Bengal Assembly elections.
With this, the party has announced candidates for all but three of the 60 seats which will go to polls in the first two phases of the eight-phase Assembly elections taking place between 27 March and 1 April.
BJP General Secretary Arun Singh made the announcement at a press conference in Kolkata. Singh said that the BJP's Central Election Committee has approved the names of candidates after due deliberation.
"Jungle raj" prevails in the state, and voters have made up their mind to oust the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and elect the BJP to power, Singh claimed.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to address a rally in Kolkata's Brigade Parade ground on Sunday, his first after the announcement of the poll dates.
Nandigram, the site of protests against the Left government which had ignited a popular upsurge and catapulted the TMC to power in 2011, is set for one of the keenest electoral battles in the state with Banerjee taking on her former protegee and now BJP leader Adhikari.
Adhikari had won from the seat in 2016 and resigned recently before crossing over to the saffron party.
Banerjee announced her candidature from the seat while leaving her traditional constituency of Bhowanipore in Kolkata. Senior BJP leaders have expressed confidence about a clean sweep from the Nandigram seat in the upcoming Assembly election in West Bengal.
With inputs from PTI