Kolkata: After losing out to Ram Nath Kovind in the presidential election, former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar may find a place in the Rajya Sabha with the support of Mamata Banerjee.
A senior Trinamool Congress leader said Mamata is ready to support Kumar’s candidature if Congress agrees to field her from West Bengal. A candidate from Bengal requires the support of 42 legislators to win a Rajya Sabha seat. With 211 MLAs in the West Bengal Assembly, the TMC can easily send five people to the Upper House.
A member of Congress’ Bengal unit said Meira Kumar’s name was discussed at a meeting called by Rahul Gandhi on Monday, where state Congress leaders and AICC general secretary CP Joshi were also present. “TMC has agreed to support the move,” he said.
Earlier, Congress was keen on supporting CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury for a third term in the upper House. However, Yechury is unlikely to get a third term as the Left’s central committee is divided on the issue. The norm in Left is to restrict Rajya Sabha memberships to a maximum of two terms. With Yechury’s future up in clouds, the Congress has decided to go with Kumar.
Azharuddin, who formally joined Congress in February 2009, had contested from Moradabad in western Uttar Pradesh in the last general election. He defeated his nearest rival Kunvar Sarvesh Kumar Singh by a margin of over 50,000 votes.
Apart from Meira Kumar and Azharuddin, the other names under consideration include Pradeep Bhattarcharya, whose term ends in August, Deepa Dasmunshi, wife of former Congress Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi, and Omprakash Mishra.