Rajya Sabha polls to the five seats of West Bengal will be held on March 26. (File)
The Trinamool Congress on Sunday announced the names of actor-politician Arpita Ghosh, former MP Mausam Noor, former Union Minister Dinesh Trivedi, and party leader Subrata Bakshi as its candidates for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls from West Bengal.
Rajya Sabha polls to the five seats of West Bengal will be held on March 26.
Announcing the names of the four candidates, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee tweeted, “As part of my constant endeavor towards woman empowerment, I am proud that half of our nominations are women #InternationalWomensDay.”
While Mausam Noor, a former Congress MP who had joined the TMC, lost from Malda Uttar seat in last year’s Lok Sabha polls, Arpita Ghosh had unsuccessfully contested from Balurghat. Former Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi had also lost from Barrackpore constituency.
Bakshi had not contested from Kolkata Dakshin, the seat he had won in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
TMC sources said Mamata 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.
The election for the fifth seat, however, 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 to 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 elections of their candidates Pradip Bhattacharya and Abhishek Manu Singhvi to the RS.
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.