Kolkata: Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee Sunday announced the names of Arpita Ghosh, Mausam Noor, Dinesh Trivedi and Subrata Bakshi as the party candidates for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls.
In a tweet, the West Bengal chief minister said in keeping with her “constant endeavour” towards women’s empowerment, she was proud that half of the TMC nominees for the March 26 polls were women.
While Noor lost from the Malda Uttar seat in last year’s Lok Sabha polls, Ghosh had unsuccessfully contested from Balurghat and Dinesh Trivedi from the Barrackpore constituency. Bakshi did not contest from Kolkata Dakshin, the seat he had won in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
TMC sources said Banerjee’s decision to nominate two women for the Rajya Sabha polls was part of her objective to bring more women in parliamentary politics and delegate responsibility.
Taking a dig at the Trinamool Congress’ decision to nominate the four candidates to Rajya Sabha, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said, “Three of the four contenders have been rejected by people of the state in the last Lok Sabha polls.”
“Does she want to go against the tide?,” he posed.
Rajya Sabha polls for the five seats of West Bengal will be held March 26. The election for the fifth seat will be a litmus test for the CPI(M)-Congress tie-up in the state.
According to the distribution of seats in the West Bengal Assembly, the ruling TMC will get four seats in the Upper House of Parliament, whereas a joint candidate of either the CPI(M)-Congress or the TMC-Congress will have to win the fifth one.
The Congress had earlier taken the TMC’s support for the election of their candidates Pradip Bhattacharya and Abhishek Manu Singhvi to the Rajya Sabha.
Since the Lok Sabha poll debacle, the CPI(M) and Congress have been unitedly fighting against the TMC and the BJP in the state. The fifth seat was held by Ritabrata Bandopadhyay, who was elected as a CPI(M) nominee in 2014, but was expelled from the party in 2017.
Since his expulsion and post-2019 Lok Sabha polls, the CPI(M)’s West Bengal unit does not have any representation either in the Lok Sabha or in the Rajya Sabha. This has happened for the first time since the party’s inception in 1964.
With just eight MLAs, the BJP is not a contender in the Rajya Sabha polls.