Kolkata, March 10 (IANS) Former Kolkata Mayor Bikash Bhattacharya, of the CPI-M, would be the joint candidate of the Left and the Congress for the Rajya Sabha election from West Bengal slated to be held on March 26, the CPI-M announced on Tuesday.
Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Sitaram Yechury gave the stamp of approval on Bhattacharya’s name after a telephonic talk with former Congress President Rahul Gandhi during the day.
Bhattacharya, a noted lawyer and former advocate general of Tripura, had lost the Lok Sabha election from Jadavpur constituency last year. Though he finished third from the seat after the winner Mimi Chakraborty of Trinamool Congress, and BJP’s Anupam Hazra, Bhattacharya was the only Left candidate in Bengal to save his deposit in the 2019 LS polls.
In 2017 also, the CPI-M had nominated Bhattacharya for the upper house of parliament, but his candidature was cancelled by the election authorities for submitting an affidavit that was part of the required documents two minutes past the deadline on the final day of filing of papers.
Bhattacharya was earlier the Mayor of Kolkata from 2005-2010 when the Left Front ran the board.
On Sunday, the ruling Trinamool fielded its national General Secretary Subrata Bakshi, theatre personality Arpita Ghosh, former Union Minister Dinesh Trivedi and ex-MP Mausam Noor for the coming Rajya Sabha polls.
Five RS seats in the state will fall vacant on April 2. Four of the retiring members are from Trinamool – K.D. Singh, Ahmed Hasan Imran, painter Jogen Chowdhury and Manish Gupta. The fifth is an expelled CPI-M member Ritabrata Banerjee.
As per the arithmetic in the state assembly, the four Trinamool candidates are likely to sail through.
If the Trinamool does not name a fifth candidate, all nominees including Bhattacharya will automatically make the cut for the upper house, without there being any need for an election.
In case the Trinamool names a fifth candidate, then also the Congress-Left have the numbers to ensure Bhattacharya’s win.