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Trinamool's Mahua Moitra Faces Royal Test In Krishnanagar Lok Sabha Seat

New Delhi: Trinamool leader Mahua Moitra must overcome the challenge of Bharatiya Janata Party debutant Amrita Roy, the matriarch of a local royal family, if she is to win back the Krishnanagar Lok Sabha seat from which she was so controversially expelled last year. 

Rajmata (or Queen Mother) Amrita Roy was named Sunday in the BJP's fifth list, which included quite a few surprises; actors Kangana Ranaut and Arun Govil will contest Himachal Pradesh's Mandi and Uttar Pradesh's Meerut, while Varun Gandhi has been dropped from UP's Pilibhit.

The identity of Ms Moitra's opponent in next month's election comes days after the Central Bureau of Investigation filed a police case and raided her Kolkata home in the cash-for-query case. In response, Ms Moitra taunted the BJP for having not yet named its candidate for the Krishnanagar seat. 

Mahua Moitra, 49, eased to victory in Krishnanagar in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, picking up 45 per cent of the votes to finish over 60,000 ahead of the BJP's Kalyan Chaubey.

Since then, the former investment banker has grown into one of the BJP's fiercest critics, with impassioned speeches in Parliament, backed up by sharply worded jabs on social media, earning her run-ins with union ministers, saffron party leaders, and right-wing trolls.

Krishnanagar has been held by the Trinamool since 2009, when Tapas Paul took it off the CPIM, which ruled here unchallenged from 1971 to 1999. The Left party is unlikely to be a contender in this election, which will be a straight fight Ms Moitra and the rajmata, who is backed by the BJP looking for a big win over Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool.

The Trinamool re-nominating Mahua Moitra from Krishnanagar has been seen as an act of defiance to the BJP - a throwing down of the gauntlet after her hugely contentious expulsion on corruption charges.

The party took some time to come to Ms Moitra's aid but has now rallied firmly to her side. Ms Banerjee has described her sacking "murder of democracy".

For the Trinamool, Ms Moitra has emerged as one of the central figures in this battle against the BJP - a re-run of the pitched (in many cases) warfare that marked the 2021 state poll. 

Mamata Banerjee's party is, on paper, a member of the INDIA opposition bloc. 

However, on the ground the Trinamool is contesting under its own steam; there is no seat-sharing deal with INDIA members, which, in Bengal, includes the CPIM and the Congress. 

Bengal has 42 Lok Sabha seats - the most after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra - and is, therefore, a key state for a BJP that wants to win 370+ seats on its own. 

A good score in Bengal - where it picked up 18 last time - is critical.

Mahua Moitra Was Expelled. What Happened?

A little less than four months ago, Ms Moitra was expelled on charges of corruption. 

She allegedly took ₹ 2 crore in cash and "luxury gift items" from a businessman - Darshan Hiranandani - to ask questions critical of the government in Parliament. She was also accused of sharing log-in details to her confidential account on the parliament website.

She has denied the bribery charges (but said she did share portal credentials, arguing it is common practice among MPs). The Supreme Court will hear this case in May.

Source: NDTV

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