BJP Bengal Chief Sukanta, Central Ministers Nisith and Shantanu Among LS Nominees in 1st List

Sitting MPs, West Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar, union ministers Nisith Pramanik and Shantanu Thakur are among the 195 candidates who featured in the first list of nominees announced by the BJP for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

While there are 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal, candidates of 20 were announced.

Following are the key BJP candidates from the state:

*Cooch Behar Lok Sabha Seat – Nisith Pramanik* Once a Trinamool Congress youth leader from the North Bengal district of Cooch Behar, 38-year-old Nisith Pramanik jumped ship to the BJP in March 2019 and trumped his former party’s well-entrenched leader Paresh Adhikary with over 54,000 votes in the general elections from the Cooch Behar (SC) seat which took place two months later.

In July 2021, Pramanik became the junior home minister in the dual Union ministries of Home Affairs as well as Youth Affairs and Sports following a cabinet reshuffle during the term of the second Modi government.

At the time of his assuming charge of his ministries, Pramanik earned the distinction of being the youngest minister in the Union cabinet.

Pramanik’s nationality, however, created a dust-up almost immediately after Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP Ripun Bora accused Pramanik of being a Bangladeshi national and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to investigate his nationality.

*Alipurduars Lok Sabha Seat – Manoj Tigga* A BJP MLA from the Madarihat (ST) constituency of West Bengal’s Alipurduar district in two back-to-back state polls of 2016 and 2021, Manoj Tigga currently serves as the party’s chief whip in the Bengal Assembly. In 2016, Tigga managed to swing the Madarihat seat from the known fortress of the Left Front partner RSP which held the constituency for an unbroken 42 years.

Tigga replaced BJP’s sitting MP John Barla in the North Bengal seat of Alipurduar in his candidacy for the upcoming general elections. Barla, the sitting Union minister of state for minority affairs, was incidentally among the first BJP leaders in Bengal to demand a separate state carved out of North Bengal alleging underdevelopment and indifference of the Mamata Banerjee government towards the region.

*Balurghat Lok Sabha seat – Sukanta Majumdar* Sukanta Majumdar, the current president of the West Bengal BJP and a first-time MP, secured victory in the Balurghat Lok Sabha seat in 2019. He won by about 33,000 votes, clinching 45 per cent of the total votes cast.

Before his foray into politics, Majumdar served as a professor of Botany at the University of Gour Banga in West Bengal.

Majumdar, who holds a PhD in Botany, has been associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) since his teenage years. He was assigned to the Bengal BJP in 2014, marking his transition into active political involvement. He was appointed as the state unit president of the BJP in September 2021.

*Bongaon (SC) Lok Sabha seat – Shantanu Thakur.* Shantanu Thakur, a prominent leader of the Matua community, entered politics just before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He secured victory in the Bongaon (SC) Lok Sabha seat, which has a significant Matua population, by an impressive margin of 1,11,594 votes, capturing around 48 per cent of the total votes cast.

Known for his vocal support of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Thakur was appointed as the Union Minister of State for the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways in a cabinet reshuffle in July 2019.

He is a key figure in the All India Matua Mahasangha and comes from a political family; his father, Manjul Krishna Thakur, is a former TMC minister, and his brother, Subrata Thakur, serves as a BJP MLA in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly.

*Kanthi Lok Sabha seat- Soumendu Adhikari* Soumendu Adhikari, a two-time TMC MP representing Tamluk Lok Sabha constituency, has distanced himself from the party since his brother, Suvendu Adhikari, joined the BJP just before the 2021 assembly elections.

His father, Sisir Adhikari, was a three-time TMC MP from the Kanthi Lok Sabha seat. However, he too has kept his distance from the party following his son Suvendu’s defection.

Coming from a family with a strong political background, Soumendu previously served as the chairman of the Kanthi Municipality and as a TMC MLA in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly.

He became an MP through a by-election for the Tamluk parliamentary seat after Suvendu resigned to join the West Bengal cabinet under the TMC government. Kanthi is one of the 22 Lok Sabha seats, which the BJP lost in 2019.

*Hooghly Lok Sabha Seat – Locket Chatterjee* A sitting MP from the Hooghly Lok Sabha seat, actor-turned-politician Locket Chatterjee snatched the constituency from Trinamool Congress’s Dr Ratna De (Nag) in 2019 and positioned her party as a formidable force in that district against the state’s ruling dispensation.

Chatterjee, known for her outspoken and fiery public demeanour, had previously served as the president of the Mahila Morcha of her party’s West Bengal unit and is currently functioning as the party’s state general secretary.

Chatterjee forayed into politics by holding hands of the Trinamool Congress but switched to the BJP in 2015. She contested the state Assembly polls twice, first from Mayureshwar in 2016 and then from Chinsurah in 2021, but lost on both occasions to the TMC.

*Asansol Lok Sabha seat – Pawan Singh* Bhojpuri actor and singer Pawan Singh seems to be a surprise nomination for the largely Hindi-speaking voters of the coal mine belt of Asansol in West Burdwan district. For the past few years, though, the seat has been represented by celebrities from non-political domains. Former BJP leader and crooner Babul Supriyo won the seat twice in 2014 and in 2019.

Following Supriyo’s defection to the TMC, the seat is currently represented by actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha of the Trinamool.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)

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