Updated: Mon, 08 Mar 2021 01:01 PM IST
Kolkata | Jagran Politics Desk: Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Monday made a U-turn and replaced its Habibpur assembly constituency candidate Sarala Murmu with Pradeep Baskey amid speculation that she might join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the assembly polls in West Bengal.
In a statement, the party cited Murmu's ill health and said that a candidate is nominated "based on his or her winning possibility and not personal desires".
"The candidate for Malda District's Habibpur Assembly Constituency, Saral Murmu replaced due to her ill health. Pradeep Baskey will be contesting the upcoming Assembly elections from the constituency," the party said, as reported by news agency ANI.
Though the TMC has cited Murmu's ill health, media report suggest that she was upset because she was not fielded by the party from the Old Malda seat. Reports suggest that Murmu might also meet Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
"This is primarily the reason why she has decided to quit the TMC and is planning to join the BJP. Apart from Murmu, 14 others, including Gour Chandra Mondal (Malda Zila Parishad president) and Amlan Bhaduri (TMC co-ordinator), are also planning to join the BJP," News18 quoted a senior TMC leader as saying.
The TMC, which is seeking its third straight term, had released its first list of candidates for West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021. However, several party leaders and sitting MLAs -- including Sonali Guha, Smita Bakshi and Arabul Islam -- expressed their disappointment after being denied tickets by the party.
Meanwhile, the party has fielded 79 Scheduled Caste (SC), 50 women and 42 Muslim for the upcoming polls.
The West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021 will be held in eight phases from March 27 to April 29 while the counting of votes will take place on May 2, the election commission has said.