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West Bengal state elections to be held over six phases, TMC announces 56 Muslim candidates

By Zaidul Haque, TwoCircles.net.

Kolkata: The West Bengal state assembly elections will be held over six phases, with the first date of polling scheduled on April 4 and the last on May 5, Chief Election Commissioner of India Dr Nasim Zaidi announced on Friday.

It is important to point out that although there are six phases, the first phase of elections will be held in three Naxal-affected areas—18 constituencies of West Medinipur 6, Purulia 9 and Bankura 3—on two days, April 4 and April 11. The results will be announced on 19 May.
According to Election Commission the total numbers of voters in West Bengal is 6.55 crore, who will cast their votes across 77, 247 polling stations.


After the announcement, Trinamool Congresss supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee declared her candidates for the upcoming elections. Unlike the last state elections when TMC tied up with Congress and Socialist Unity Centre of India and thus nominated only 227 seats, this time TMC will field its candidates across all 294 seats.

TMC’s list includes the name of Madan Mitra, the MLA who is now in jail for the famous Saradha Scam, along with former footballers Baichung Bhutia, Rahim Nabi and former cricketer Laxmi Ratan Shukla.

Importantly, the TMC’s list includes 56 Muslims, which is nearly 20 percent of all the candidates nominated. It is also roughly in line with the fact that Muslims form nearly 27% of the state’s population.

Of the 56 Muslim candidates, 10 are females. In 2011 elections, the party had fielded 39 Muslim candidates, of which 38 won. A total of 59 Muslims were elected in 2011 across all political parties.

Of the 56 Muslim candidates of TMC, most are MLAs that have been retained. However, the party has also dropped former state minister Nur E Alam Chowdhury, Mamtaj Begum, Zulfiqar Molla, Parvez Rahman, Ali Sohrab and Mahmuda Begum from the list. Surprisingly, the state secretary of Jamiat-E Ulama-e Hind Maulana Siddiqullah Chowdhury will contest as Trinamool candidate from Mangalkot of Burdwan district.

Apart from Siddiqullah, another Jamiat member from Malda–Mohammed Nazrul Islam–will contest from Mothabari of Malda district as a TMC candidate. In last assembly elections, Maulana Siddiqullah Chowhury had contested as an AIUDF candidate from Domkal, Murshidabad but lost having received few votes.

Talking to Twocircles.net, Maulana Siddiqullah Chowdhury said, “This is the right time to fight together against the fanatic forces in West Bengal. Mamata Banerjee is trying her best to ensure development of the Minorities in the state the last four and a half years. So, everyone should help her in her endeavours.”

TMC’s list also includes Justice (Retd) Abdul Ghani, Chairman, Office of the Board of Wakfs, West Bengal, who will contest from Jagatballabhpur constituency of Howrah distrcit. Along with Ghani, Haji Nurul Islam, an ex-MP, state chairman of Haj Committee and Vice-president of All India Haj Committee will contest from Haroa constituency of North 24 Parganas district as a TMC candidate.

56 Muslim candidates of Trinamool Congress for the Assembly Election 2016 in West Bengal


(Photo: Sandip Saha)