BJP sends out youth leader to take on CM

Mamata Banerjee needs to win this by-election from Bhawanipur, her old seat, to retain her chief ministerial post.

The BJP on Friday announced that it would field Priyanka Tibrewal, a lawyer, as its candidate against TMC chief Mamata Banerjee in Bhabanipur constituency, where bypoll is scheduled on September 30.

Speaking to the media later in the day, Tibrewal apparently compared herself to Mamata Banerjee, describing both as “someone who has lost an election” [in the past].

“We are both candidates and both are contesting an election after losing one.”

Mamata Banerjee needs to win this by-election from Bhawanipur, her old seat, to retain her chief ministerial post.

Banerjee is contesting again as she lost to her aide-turned-adversary Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram by a margin of 1,956 votes in the Assembly polls earlier this year. Tibrewal contested from the Entaly constituency and lost to Swarna Kamal Saha of TMC by a margin of 58,257 votes.

Tibrewal, 41, has been in the limelight over having filed some cases in connection with alleged post-poll violence in Bengal and she also played a vital role in pressing for a CBI probe into these cases, sources said.

When the court handed over the probe to the CBI, BJP considered it as its victory and gave Priyanka Tibrewal’s role in the party a boost, they added.

According to sources, in the party, Tibrewal emerged as an “ideal candidate” to fight Mamata Banerjee.

“She has been fighting cases for BJP workers and has defended victims of atrocities by state ruling party. She is confident, too,” said a senior BJP leader.

According to party sources, Tibrewal, a BJP youth wing leader, has been chosen also keeping in mind Hindi-speaking and woman voters in the Bhabanipur constituency.

Priyanka Tibrewal said, “She (Mamata Banerjee) had said that there is no violence in the state but I defeated her [claim] in the high court as I proved there
was violence.”

On Friday, BJP announced its candidate list for all the three seats where bypoll will be held even as Mamata filed her nomination. BJP’s Milan Ghosh will contest from Samserganj and Sujit Das from Jangipur constituency. The counting will take place on October 3. The Left Front recently announced that CPI(M) leader Srijib Biswas would be its candidate for the Bhabanipur bypoll.

Coincidentally, all three candidates from Bhabanipur are lawyers.

Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said, “Bhabanipur means the seat of the chief minister of the state. Mamata is the face of post-poll violence and Priyanka is the face of protest against that.”

State Minister Firhad Hakim said, “Who is she? [in an apparent reference to Priyanka Tibrewal]. What’s her contribution to the society?”

Although polls and bypolls are to be held in seven seats in Bengal, the Election Commission of India (ECI) had on Saturday announced elections in only three seats.

Meanwhile, the BJP also released a list of its 20 star campaigners for the elections, most of whom are Bengal leaders. However, Union ministers Hardeep Singh Puri and Smriti Irani, national spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain and former Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari also feature in the list.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah are not on the list of star campaigners.

The list also includes BJP state president Dilip Ghosh, MP and former Union minister Babul Supriyo and leader of opposition Suvendu Adhikari.

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