Kolkata: The BJP in its first list of 28 candidates for West Bengal has pinned hopes on its veterans and defectors from the ruling Trinamool Congress to take on the Mamata Banerjee's government in the state.
Of the 28 candidates, nearly 25 are new faces, with a thrust on active political workers rather than greenhorns from the glamour world.
The saffron party, which bagged two Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 elections, is now targeting 23 of the state's 42 constituencies.
Unlike the TMC list, which had 18 new faces and a mix of both old-timers and greenhorns, hardcore politicians and personalities from the film industry, the BJP has put faith on its own leaders and defectors from other parties.
There are four women candidates and one Muslim nominee in the first list.
Of the candidates, five had recently defected to the saffron party from the Trinamool Congress and one from the CPI(M).
Union minister and BJP MP from Asansol Lok Sabha constituency Babul Supriyo has been renominated from the same seat and is pitted against actor Moon Moon Sen of the TMC.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh will contest from Medinipur seat against TMC leader Manas Bhunia. BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha will take on TMC heavyweight Sudip Bandopadhyay in Kolkata North Lok Sabha seat.
State BJP vice-president and Netaji Subhas Chandra Boses grandnephew, Chandra Kumar Bose will contest from Kolkata South Lok Sabha seat.
Former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh, once known to be close to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, will be fighting against TMC candidate and actor Dipak Adhikary, popularly known as 'Dev', from Ghatal Lok Sabha constituency.
The BJP has fielded former Trinamool Congress MLA Arjun Singh from Barrackpur Lok Sabha seat. Singh, who had recently joined the saffron party, has been pitted against
TMCs Dinesh Trivedi.
In Cooch Behar Lok Sabha seat, the party has fielded former TMC youth leader Nishith Pramanik, while in Jadavpur Lok Sabha seat, expelled TMC MP Anupam Hazra will contest against TMC's Mimi Chakraborty, an actor by profession.
Another former TMC MP Soumitra Khan, who joined the BJP in January, has been given ticket from Bishnupur(SC) Lok Sabha seat.
Former CPI(M) MLA Khagen Murmu, who too had switched over to the BJP, will contest from Malda North seat and will take on TMCs Mausam Benazir Noor, who had recently defected to the party from the Congress, in Malda Uttar seat. The Lok Sabha elections in the state will be held from April 11 till May 19 in seven phases. PTI PNT