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Hiron to contest from Kharagpur Sadar

Kolkata: Ending all speculations, BJP has finally announced its candidate for Kharagpur Sadar. Actor Hiron Chatterjee, who had recently joined BJP from Trinamool Congress (TMC), will contest from Kharagpur Sadar in West Midnapore district.

Dilip Ghosh, the state BJP president, had won the seat in 2016 Assembly elections by defeating Gyan Singh Sohanpal by 6,309 votes. Sohanpal was elected from the constituency in 1969 and 1972. Sohanpal remained a MLA from the same seat from 1982 to 2011.

Ghosh won the Lok Sabha election from the Midnapore Parliamentary seat in 2019. As the seat fell vacant, a by-election was held and TMC candidate Pradip Sarkar defeated BJP rival Premchandra Jha by 20,788 votes.

Ahead of BJP's announcement of the candidature for Kharagpur Sadar, speculations were rife that the saffron party might nominate TMC councilor Debashis Chowdhury Munmun alias, who recently quit the post of TMC district General Secretary. But, sources said neither had quit TMC nor joined BJP so far. However, he was the centre of all speculations.

Amid all speculations, BJP's decision to not field Ghosh from the constituency has raised eyebrows. Sources claimed that some of Ghosh's well-wishers and supporters weren't happy with the decision. However, the leader had earlier stated that he didn't want to contest the Lok Sabha polls but had to do so after the senior leaders of the party nominated him. "Whatever the party will decide, we follow that order only," he had said.

Sources further stated that the supporters of Ghosh are worried about the leader's prospects for being the saffron party's Chief Minister candidate. "If he doesn't contest polls, he wouldn't become the Chief Minister if the party comes to power. However, he can later win the election from any other seat to become CM. But, then if Suvendu Adhikari wins the tough battle of Nandigram, he will have an upper edge," political experts said. Whatever be the case, new entrant Hiron will take up the fight in Kharagpur Sadar amid resentments and apprehensions.

On the other hand, TMC's Pradip Sarkar sounded confident about the party's victory. Sarkar said Trinamool had ironed out all the shortcomings and party workers had completed wall writing. He is now giving stress on the door-to-door campaign. Election in the constituency will be held on April 1.

Meanwhile, two former Trinamool MLAs Bacchu Hansda and Gouripada Dutta joined the BJP on Wednesday. Dilip Ghosh, state BJP president handed over the party flag to them. Actors Rajshree Rajbanshi and Bonny Sengupta joined BJP at the same function. Interestingly, Bonny's mother Piya Sengupta joined Trinamool Congress recently along with his close friend Koushani Mukherjee.

In an unprecedented move, BJP has announced a list of 40 leaders including 20 heavy weights from Delhi who will campaign in the first phase of the election.

This includes Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Faggan Singh Kukaste, Arjun Munda, Dharmendra Pradhan, Babul Supriyo and Debasree Roy Chowdhury. Two sitting Chief Ministers Yogi Adityanath and Shivraj Singh Chouhan will come to Bengal to campaign for party nominees. J P Nadda, party's all-India president along with Kailash Vijayvargiya and Shiv Prakash are among the list of leaders.

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