Kolkata, March 17 (IANS) Nomination of the ruling Trinamool Congress-backed independent candidate Dinesh Bajaj for the Rajya Sabha polls from West Bengal was cancelled on Tuesday for filing an incomplete affidavit, thereby scrapping the need for voting with all five candidates including Congress-Left supported Bikash Bhattacharya now likely to be automatically elected.
The cacellation of Bajaj’s candidature is particularly good news for Bhattacharya as the former Trinamool legislator was apparently fielded by the state’s ruling party with an eye on getting some of the Congress-Left lawmakers to cross-vote in the Independent nominee’s favour.
The Election Commission found fault with Bajaj’s nomination during the scrutiny on Monday and summoned him for a hearing on Tuesday before taking the final decision.
The state Legislative Assembly Secretary – the ex-officio returning officer for Rajya Sabha polls – announced that the nomination of Bajaj, who had huffed and puffed his way to the assembly to file his candidature seconds before the expiry of deadline on Friday, has been rejected.
“There was an attempt on the part of the ruling party to engage in horse trading of MLAs. We are happy thatA Election Commission took note of our objections and cancelled Bajaj’s nomination which had irregularities,” Bhattacharya told the media.
The last date for withdrawal of nominations is March 18 after which the five candidates are likely to be announced winners.
The four Trinamool nominees for the polls are Mausam Benazir Noor, Arpita Ghosh, Dinesh Trivedi and Subrata Bakshi.
Had there been voting, all four Trinamool candidates were likely to have had a smooth sailing as the party had the numbers to get all of them elected.
The Congress-Left also had the strength to get Bhattacharya elected, but the entry of Bajaj – a rich businessman – had thrown a challenge to Bhattacharya.