Bengal polls 2016: High-profile candidates of April 17 election
Kolkata, April 15: Fifty-six constituencies of West Bengal Assembly will go to elections on April 17 (Sunday) in Phase 2 of the six-phase poll which started on April 4 (Monday).
This phase will see elections taking place in seven districts, namely, Alipurduar (five seats), Jalpaiguri (seven), North Dinajpur (nine), South Dinajpur (six), Malda (12) and Birbhum (11).
This phase will see a number of celebrity candidates besides some seasoned politicians contesting the polls. [A brief look at 2011 results in 56 seats going to polls on April 17]
Former Indian football captain Baichung Bhutia will contest on the ticket of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) from Siliguri and he will take on seasoned Ashok Bhattacharya of the CPI(M), who is eyeing to win his fifth term from this seat. [Top issues of Bengal polls 2016]
In Birbhum district, two actor-politicians, namely, Locket Chatterjee and Joy Banerjee will contest on the BJP's tickets from Mayureshwar and Suri, respectively.
Here is a look at the high-profile candidates contesting the April 17 election:
Baichung Bhutia (TMC) - Siliguri (Darjeeling)
The former Indian football captain, Baichung Bhutia, will contest against former state minister and four-time CPI(M) MLA from this seat, Ashok Bhattacharya. This is the second time Bhutia is contesting an election for the TMC. He had contested the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Darjeeling but lost to BJP's SS Ahluwalia by nearly 2 lakh votes.
Ashok Bhattacharya (CPI-M) - Siliguri (Darjeeling)
Ashok Bhattacharya, who is also called the 'Chief Minister of North Bengal', is a four-time MLA from Siliguri and lost only once in 2011 when the TMC-Congress alliance swept Bengal. He, however, played an important role in working out the Siliguri Model to defeat the TMC. A former state minister, Bhattacharya, 66, is also the current mayor of Siliguri Municipal Corporation.
Joy Banerjee (BJP) - Suri (Birbhum)
Joy Banerjee, a veteran Bengali actor, will test his electoral luck for the second time when he will take on the TMC's Ashok Chattapadhyay and Left's Ramchandra Dom in Suri in Birbhum district. Banerjee contested the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Birbhum constituency on the BJP's ticket but finished after the TMC and Left candidates.
Locket Chatterjee (BJP) - Mayureshwar (Bibhum)
Forty-two-year-old actor Locket Chatterjee, who joined the BJP last year, will contest her maiden election from Mayureswar constituency in Birbhum. Her opponents are the TMC's Abhijit Roy and the Left's Arup Bag. Though a fresher in politics, Chatterjee is giving it everything to make an impact.