Who is Priyanka Tibrewal, the BJP candidate challenging Mamata Banerjee?
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded its youth wing leader and lawyer Priyanka Tibrewal against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in the crucial Bhabanipur by-poll. Banerjee, whose party won a thumping majority even though she lost her individual contest this year, must win this election to retain the top post. Here's what we know about Tibrewal, whom the BJP is banking on.
Tibrewal, 40, was born on July 7, 1981 in Kolkata. She did her schooling from the Welland Gouldsmith School in the West Bengal capital and earned her graduate degree from the Delhi University. She then studied law at the Hazra Law College of the University of Calcutta. She also has an MBA in HR from Assumption University, Thailand, reports say.
Tibrewal had joined the BJP in 2014 on the insistence of party leader and former Union Minister Babul Supriyo, for whom she had been working as a legal adviser. Last year, she was appointed the Vice-President of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) in West Bengal. She also currently serves as a national spokesperson for the BJP.
Tibrewal has fought elections in West Bengal twice, albeit unsuccessfully. In 2015, she had contested Kolkata's municipal council elections, losing to her Trinamool Congress (TMC) counterpart. This year, she contested the Assembly elections from Entally constituency, but lost to Swarna Kamal Saha of the TMC by a margin of over 50,000 votes. She was also among the petitioners in West Bengal post-poll violence case.
Before her candidature was finalized, Tibrewal said she would do her best if chosen. "I will give my best and I am hopeful that people will support me in this battle of justice vs. injustice...I am sure people will vote against the misrule of ruling TMC. This is our fight against the post-poll violence and suffering of the people in Bengal," she told News18.
In the 2021 Assembly polls, TMC's Sovandeb Chatterjee had won the Bhabanipur seat, but later vacated it to allow Banerjee to contest. The Left Front has announced the name of advocate Srijib Biswas for the by-poll while the Congress has decided not to field any candidate against the CM. Banerjee had won Assembly elections from Bhabanipur in 2011 and 2016.
The Bhabanipur by-election will be held on September 30 and votes will be counted on October 3. The last date of nomination is September 13 and candidates will be able to withdraw their names by September 16, as per reports. According to Article 164 of the Indian Constitution, a Minister who is not elected as an MLA within six months must resign.