Kolkata: Voting for 58 Rajya Sabha seats began on Friday with contests being held in six states UttarPradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Telangana.
In West Bengal, six candidates are in the fray for five seats. Ruling party Trinamool Congress (TMC) has fielded four candidates — Nadimul Haq, Subhashish Chakraborty, Abir Biswas and Santunu Sen.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has extended her support to Abhishek Manu Singhvi. Singhvi is the lone nominee from the Congress regime. The sixth candidate, who would be in the fray, is Rabin Deb from the CPM.
Trinamool Congress, with 211 MLAs, will have no problem in sending four of its nominees to Rajya Sabha. The nominees are Nadimul Haque, Shantanu Sen, Subhasish Chakraborty and Abir Biswas. This will be Haque’s second term in Rajya Sabha. A candidate would require at least 50 votes to win. The TMC has 213 votes, Congress has 42 votes and the CPM has 26.
Commenting on her support to Singhvi, Mamata, in a meeting, had earlier said, “We are supporting him because he had fought several (legal) cases on behalf of the state government. Singhvi and Kapil Sibal usually fight cases on our behalf. So, we are supporting the Congress candidate, as the CPM did not field a candidate from the state.”
The Central Committee of CPI-M has decided not to support Congress, even though Congress had agreed to support CPI-M, if it nominated Sitaram Yechury. But the Central Committee of the party declined the proposal. CPI-M has fielded Rabin Deb, former MLA and Secretariat member of the state committee of the party.
CM The party, having 24 MLAs, has no chance of sending Deb to Rajya Sabha. This is for the first time since 1977, when the Left Front does not have any Rajya Sabha member from Bengal. CPI-M Rajya Sabha member Tapan Sen’s term came to an end in March, while Ritabrata Bandyopadhyay is under suspension.