LF fields Bikash Bhattacharya for Rajya Sabha polls

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Kolkata, July 28 (IANS) West Bengal’s opposition Left Front (LF) on Friday nominated former Kolkata mayor Bikash Bhattacharya for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls.

Bhattacharya, an eminent lawyer and former advocate general of Tripura, has played a major role in the opposition’s legal battles against the Trinamool Congress government over the past six years.

Announcing Bhattacharya’s candidature, LF chairman Biman Bose told newspersons that the coalition had to take a last minute decision to field him after the Congress decided to renominate sitting member Pradip Bhattacharya.

Earlier, there were talks of the Congress supporting LF major CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury if he was nominated by the Marxists. However, Yechury’s candidature was shot down by the CPI-M central committee.

“We were trying to zero in on an outstanding personality outside the periphery of party politics as a common candidate acceptable to all quarters (read Congress and LF). But after we found that Pradip Bhatacharya has been renominated, we had to hold an emergency LF meeting and decide on our own candidate,” said Bose.

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The LF decision to contest has made a fight inevitable for the six Rajya Sabha seats that go to the polls from the state on August 8. Friday is the last date for filing nomination.

The ruling Trinamool has already fielded five candidates — Derek O’Brien, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, Dola Sen, Manas Bhunia and Santa Chettri — all of whom are expected to sail through on the strength of the party’s numbers.

The focus will now be on the sixth seat for which Pradip Bhattacharya and Bikash Bhattacharya – slated to file his papers later in the day – would duel it out.

After losing some of their lawmakers to the Trinamool, the Congress and LF are left with 36 and 31 legislators respectively.

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But with the Trinamool all set to support the Congress, Pradip could have the last laugh in the battle of the two Bhattacharyas.



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