West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday announced her party’s candidate list for all the 42 Lok Sabha seats and said that it is fielding 41% female candidates.
Her announcement came days after Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced that his Biju Janata Dal will allocate a third of its party tickets to women in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
During her press conference, Banerjee challenged all political parties to field as many female candidates. “I am so happy,” Banerjee said. “This is a proud moment for us. We want to focus on women’s empowerment. We have not restricted ourselves to the minimum of 33% that the government is trying to set for the number of women in Parliament.”
The Lok Sabha elections for 2019 will be held from April 11 to May 19, and the results will be announced on May 23. The poll panel said it will conduct polls in several phases in West Bengal on April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19.
She also alleged that she had information that “very very important persons” in the the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government were using helicopters and chartered flights to transport money to bribe workers. She criticised the Centre for its handling of the Rafale jet deal, farm distress and unemployment.
She also claimed that she had information that the Bharatiya Janata Party had violated the Model Code of Conduct by airing advertisements with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in movie theatres. The chief minister also urged the media to be fair in its coverage of the election.
The party’s list includes actor-turned-politician Moon Moon Sen and Abhishek Banerjee. She said her party will also field candidates in some constituencies of Jharkhand, Odisha, Andamans, Assam and Bihar.