Two persons, who were named by the Bharatiya Janata Party in its list of candidates for the Assembly elections in West Bengal on Thursday, refused their candidature, saying they had never joined the saffron party in the first place, the Hindustan Times reported.
The elections to the 294 seats in West Bengal will be held in eight phases from March 27 to April 29. The results will be announced on May 2.
On Thursday, the Bharatiya Janata Party released its list of 148 candidates for the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth phases of the elections. In its list, the party named Tarun Saha as its candidate from the Kashipur-Belgachia seat, and Shikha Mitra, the wife of late Congress leader Somen Mitra, as the candidate from the Chowringhee constituency.
Hours later, Mitra released a video statement, rebuffing any such development. “Neither have I joined the BJP nor do I want to contest,” Mitra said in the video shared by her son, Rohan Mitra. “It’s not possible for me to contest on a BJP ticket.”
Saha, too, categorically denied any possibility of contesting on behalf of the BJP. He told journalists that his allegiance lay with the Trinamool Congress, and that the saffron party put his name on their list without consulting him. Saha is the husband of TMC’s outgoing MLA from Kashipur-Belgachhia constituency, Mala Saha.
“I was busy in the campaign of our [TMC] candidate Atin Ghosh when suddenly I heard I was named a BJP candidate,” he added, according to Outlook. “I have not joined the BJP.”
Thursday’s embarrassment came days after the party faced a similar situation in Kerala, which will go to the polls on April 6.
On March 15, the BJP announced that C Manikandan, an engineer from the tribal community in Kerala, would be its candidate for the Mananthavady seat in Wayanad. But Manikandan outrightly declined the offer. In an interview to Outlook, Manikandan said that chances of him contesting on a BJP ticket were impossible. “I have always opposed BJP’s communal and upper-caste politics,” he said. “Ideologically, I can never be on the same page with them.”
The engineer alleged that the party was trying to use his name to expand its base in Wayanad, as he belonged to the “most backward Paniya tribe” of the state. “The party doesn’t have any influence or representation in this tribal belt and they want to make inroads here,” he added. “But I will never fall into their trap.”