Former Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee on Sunday quit the Bharatiya Janata Party along with another leader after he was not given a ticket from his desired constituency for the upcoming West Bengal Assembly elections, reported News18. Chatterjee wanted to contest from Behala East constituency while the saffron party fielded him from the Behala West seat.

Chatterjee’s associate Baisakhi Banerjee also resigned after she was denied a ticket.

In a letter to BJP West Bengal unit chief Dilip Ghosh, Chatterjee said he was “extremely humiliated and pained” to accept the party’s decision. “As a mayor and minister, I have contributed to the development of not only Behala, but entire Kolkata,” he wrote. “My commitment to the people of West Bengal at large cannot be denied even by my Opposition parties. But the party’s decision not to give me nomination from Behala East is a moral defeat for me and I have never compromised with my principles.”

Actor-turned- politician Payel Sarkar, who joined the saffron party a few days back, has been given the Behala East seat, reported PTI.

Chatterjee had joined the BJP in 2019 after quitting the Trinamool Congress a year before that.

On his aide’s resignation from the party, Chatterjee said she has jointly contributed to the development of the segment and garnered huge support in the city as well as Behala. “But you have decided to overlook her contribution and have decided not to give her an opportunity to contest the election,” he said. “Therefore, I tender my protest against that also.”

The former mayor’s estranged wife, Ratna Chatterjee, is also contesting from the seat on a Trinamool Congress ticket, reported India Today. She had challenged Chatterjee to fight from the same seat. “If I get a chance to fight against Sovan Chatterjee in the election, I will surely defeat him,” Ratna Chatterjee had said.

BJP General Secretary Arun Singh along with Union ministers Babul Supriyo and Debasree Chaudhuri had on Sunday released the names of 63 candidates for the third and fourth phase of polls to be held on April 6 and 10.

Meanwhile, BJP members in the state staged protests after newcomers were given a preference even as old-timers were benched, reported The Indian Express.

BJP workers protested after four-time Trinamool Congress MLA Rabindranath Bhattacharya, who joined the BJP last week after his name was missing from the TMC list, was given a ticket.

“Rabindranath Bhattacharya is a TMC leader, who joined the BJP after he was denied ticket by his party,” a local BJP leader said. “And today, some of the central BJP leaders in collusion with Bhattacharya gave him party nomination. We will never accept it. The party has to change its decision.”

Former Hooghly district BJP president Subir Nag said he was “betrayed” and was quitting politics. Unidentified people familiar with the development said he was not happy after BJP MP Locket Chatterjee was made the candidate from Chuchura.

Another protest was held in North Bengal after Ashok Lahiri, former chief economic advisor to the central government, was nominated from the Alipurduar seat and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha turncoat Bishal Lama from Kalchini.

Protests were also held in various other constituencies after leaders did not find their names in the candidate list. BJP workers ransacked a party office in Panchla seat in Howrah district, where TMC turncoat Mohitlal Ghati was given the ticket.

Similar incidents had taken place after the BJP announced the candidates for the first and second phases of polls. At least nine BJP leaders had filed nominations as independents.

Elections to the 294-Assembly seats in West Bengal will be held in eight phases from March 27 to April 29. The result will be announced on May 2.