New Delhi, March 21: Yesteryears' chocolate boy hero Biswajit's nomination for the New Delhi seat has given the Trinamool Congress' Delhi fight a semblance of respectability with the party hoping to garner some seats, banking on not just the Bengali vote but also that of his admirers.
Biswajit, who is in his late 70s, filed his candidature for the New Delhi seat Friday, said a Trinamool Party official.
Unfazed by the let down by Gandhian Anna Hazare, Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee decided to field candidates for all seven Delhi Lok Sabha seats.
Of the seven candidates, the party high command chose two - Biswajit Chatterjee and Sreerupa Mitra Chaudhury, a former journalist and a prominent women's rights activist and social worker. Chaudhury has been fielded from South Delhi.
"Our party has not been affected by the Anna Hazare incident. In fact, we have gained from it. We are now fighting from all the seven Delhi seats, and thanks to Hazare, people in Delhi are now aware of our party," said the party's Delhi unit convener S.N. Gupta, a former advocate.
"Our candidates are totally clean, there is not a dhabba (spot) of corruption on them, " claimed Gupta, who said he joined the Trinamool only two months ago.
"We have two Muslims among the seven. None of the other parties have even one Muslim among the seven candidates, " said Gupta.
Besides Biswajit and Chaudhury, the other candidates are Hari Om Sharma from Chandni Chowk, Harinath Ram from the reserved constituency of North West Delhi, Md. Syed Siddiqui from East Delhi, Md. Arif from North East Delhi and Bangshidhar Mishra from West Delhi.
Harinath Ram, a Supreme Court advocate, also filed his nomination Friday.
Ram told IANS he had fought an earlier election as a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate and decided to switch to the Trinamool this year.
Asked how he planned to go canvassing for votes, especially as he is pitted against Rakhi Birla of the Aam Admi Party (AAP), Ram said he would resort to door-to-door campaigning.
With the All India Trinamool Congress deciding to go national, a steady stream of ticket seekers is at the doors of the party's Delhi office in South Avenue.
There are men and women seeking tickets for Ganganagar in Rajasthan, for seats in Haryana and down south in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
In Chandni Chowk Hari Om Sharma will be up against Harsh Vardhan of the Bharatiya Janata Party and union minister Kapil Sibal of the Congress and former journalist Ashutosh of the AAP.
Siddiqui will be facing Rajmohan Gandhi of the AAP, sitting MP Sandeep Dikshit of the Congress and social worker Mahesh Giri of the BJP in East Delhi.
Trinamool Chief Mamata Banerjee, who has 655,000 followers on Facebook, had posted on her page after the March 12 Ramlila Maidan rally where Hazare failed to turn up: "We are a small party. We know our limitations. But still, we are fighting the battle alone."
The All India Trinamool Congress has a Facebook page, with 13,278 followers, declaring that "Mamata Banerjee goes national".
Its supporters in Delhi and the National Capital Region have also opened a Facebook page with the blurb: "Dedicated for the nation with the blessings and good wishes from Mamata Banerjee. VANDEMATARAM! Ma-Mati-Manush Jindabad! Mamata Banerjee Jindabad! Trinamool Congress Jindabad!" It has 1,652 Likes so far.
(Ranjana Narayan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)