With part two of the first phase of the West Bengal elections round the corner, the polls this year will test the Trinamool Congress's hold over the state. The elections will also reveal if the BJP can gain momentum in a state where it has not found much electoral luck.
The TMC has received a lot of flak over the years for the alleged Saradha scam, the communal violence at Malda, and claims of poor healthcare.
With West Bengal polls underway, we give you a list of some important candidates whose fate will be decided by the electorate-
Strengths: Perceived to be pro-farmer, pro-poor and also accused of appeasement politics with the Muslims, the opposition claims she could be targeting 28 percent of the Muslim population, as reported by India Today.
Threats: The Saradha scam, the violence at Malda and Tata Motors pulling out of Singur happened under her leadership. Possible anti-incumbency sentiment may also be hamper her chances of winning.
Strengths: Mitra won from Kamarhati in the last election by getting almost 58 percent of the votes. He won defeating CPM’s Manas Mukhopadhyay.
Threats: He faces allegations in the Saradha chit fund scam which had hit national headlines. He was arrested by the CBI in December 2014 in this connection.
Strengths: A household name, Bhaichung's popularity especially with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GOJAM) bastion could garner him votes.
Threats: In 2014, Bhaichung unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections. Contesting against BJP's SS Ahluwalia, he lost by nearly 2,00,00 votes.
Strengths: If speculations are anything to go by, Saurav Ganguly, ex-captain of the Indian cricket team, may campaign for her. According to a report in The Indian Express, a senior TMC leader has said that she lacks the experience to contest elections and win, but ‘Didi’ fielded her because of her popularity.
Threats: Contesting from Bally constituency in Kolkata, Dalmiya faces tough competition from CPM’s Anjan Bera who is the State Information and Cultural Affairs Minister.
Strengths: Locket is popular in West Bengal for her films and television shows. Her popularity could win her the seat in Mayureswar.
Threats: She is contesting from a constituency that is a CPM stronghold. Her dissent from TMC after the Saradha scam may threaten her candidacy.
Strengths: He has been a five time MLA from 1991 and is known as 'daktar babu' in Narayangarh.
Threats: TMC candidate Pardyut Ghosh has questioned Mishra's role in developing Narayangargh, stating that the people of the town wanted a super specialty hospital which was never built, said a report in DNA.
Strengths: Possibly the biggest strength of the BJP's candidate from Bhabanipur is his surname. Being the grandnephew of Bengali freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose, Chandra Kumar Bose and the BJP are leveraging his family’s popularity and connect with Bengalis.
Threats: He is up against no less than the chief minister, who won a historic mandate in ____after ending 34 years of communist rule in West Bengal. His affiliation with the BJP, a party still unpopular in West Bengal, could also be his Achilles' heel.