West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday released the list of Trinamool Congress candidates for the upcoming assembly polls for 291 seats, with emphasis on youths, minority, women, backward communities, and several movie and sports stars. “This time we have stressed on more youths and women candidates. Around 23-24 sitting MLAs have been dropped and there are names of about 50 women, 42 Muslims, 79 Schedule Caste and 17 Scheduled candidates in the list,” Ms Banerjee said.
Here is a look at the star candidates that the Trinamool Congress announced for the Bengal elections:
Cricketer Manoj Tiwary, who joined the Trinamool Congress last month, will contest these elections from Shibpur. He represents Bengal in domestic cricket and has played for Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab and Rising Pune Supergiants in the Indian Premier League.
Actor Saayoni Ghosh, known for movies like ‘Kanamachi’, ‘Ekla Cholo’, and ‘Rajkahini’, will contest the Bengal elections from the Asansol South constituency. The 28-year-old started out with the TV show ‘Icche Dana’ in 2009 and then ‘Proloy Asche’.
Actor-director Raj Chakraborty, 46, will be contesting the elections from Barrackpore in Kolkata. Mr Chakraborty was a prominent name in the Bengali television industry before going on to direct movies like ‘Challenge’ and ‘Parineeta’.
Another new entrant to the Trinamool Congress, June Maliah is a popular Bengali actor who has worked in several films and TV shows. The 50-year-old started her acting career in 1996 with the film ‘Lathi’. She has also worked in movies like The Bong Connection and Meri Pyaari Bindu. She will contest from Medinipur.
Born in 1984, Soham Chakraborty has worked in more than 100 Bengali films, starting as a child actor. He unsuccessfully contested the 2016 West Bengal elections from the Barjora constituency. This time he will contest from Chandipur.
Best known for his popular TV show Janata Express, Kanchan Mallick is a popular comic actor in Bengal who has worked in movies like Mahakaal and Ranjana Ami Ar Ashbona. The 50-year-old will contest from Uttarpara.
Actor Sayantika Banerjee, 34, will run for the Trinamool Congress from Bankura after joining the party this month. After starting her career with the dancing reality show Naach Doom Macha Ley, she worked in films such as ‘Target’, ‘Hangover’ and ‘Jeet’.
Known for the TV shows Jol Nupur and Mohor, Lovely Maitra, 30, will contest for the Trinamool Congress from Sonarpur South.
Singer Aditi Munshi, who joined the Trinamool Congress this week, will contest from Rajarhat Gopalpur.
A two-time MLA from Barasat, 65-year-old Chiranjeet Chakrabarti will contest once again from his seat. The veteran actor is a well-known face in the Bengali film industry and has been working since the early 1980s. Last month, he had said he wished to quit politics.
Actor Birbaha Hansda is a popular actor who has worked in Santali and Bengali movies. She belongs to the Santal tribe, one of the largest in eastern India. Daughter of the founder of Jharkhand Party (Naren) Naren Hansda and politician Chunibala Hansda, Birbaha Hansda will contest from Jhargram.
Footballer Bidesh Bose, a celebrated member of the Mohun Bagan team from the 1970s, will contest from Uluberia East.