TMC bags 4 RS seats from state, ensures lone Congman's win
Kolkata: The Trinamool Congress bagged four seats and the Congress got one in the Rajya Sabha polls from Bengal on Friday. All four Trinamool candidates — sitting Rajya Sabha member Nadimul Haque and first-time nominees Subhasish Chakraborty, Abir Biswas and Santanu Sen — emerged victorious in the vote count. The Congress nominee who got elected with the Trinamool's support was Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
Biswas got 52 votes while Chakraborty, Haque and Sen got 54, 52 and 51 votes respectively. Manu Singhvi got 47 votes. There are 294 MLAs in the Bengal Assembly. Of these, one MLA — Kasturi Das — died a few days ago. Three BJP MLAs did not vote. Two Left Front MLAs — Dipali Biswas and Dhiren Layek — who joined the TMC did not come due to illness. The votes of Trinamool MLAs — Mrigen Maity and Zakir Hussain — got cancelled as they did not put the ballot in the right place. Abdul Mannan of the Congress was the first MLA to vote while Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee cast her ballot around 2.45 pm in the Assembly House.
Long queues of MLAs were seen in the main lobby of the Assembly House as soon as voting began. The MLAs and ministers stood in the queues and cast their votes. The three BJP MLAs refrained from voting. Mamata Banerjee congratulated the winners. Banerjee had decided to support Singhvi of the Congress party who required 49 votes. Congress had 44 members and needed four more votes to book a seat in the Upper House.
The Trinamool Congress nominees have been associated with the party for several years. Haque was elected for the second consecutive term in the Rajya Sabha. Abir Biswas lost in the 2016 Assembly elections but is associated with the party since its inception. His father, Ananda Mohan Biswas, was a veteran Congress leader and was a Minister of State in Siddhartha Ray's Cabinet. Subhasish Chakraborty is associated with the party from its inception and Santanu Sen who is a doctor by profession is a Councillor of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation. He is an office bearer of the state unit of the Indian Medical Association as well.
This is for the first time since 1977 when the Left Front did not have its nominee in the Rajya Sabha from Bengal, once a red bastion. Robin Deb, the CPI(M) nominee got only 30 votes. In the 2016 Assembly, the CPI(M) has only 26 MLAs. CPI(M) nominee Tapan Sen's term has come to an end in February.
The other member — Ritabrata Banerjee — is under suspension. His term will end in 2020. The Congress would have supported the CPI(M) if the party had nominated Sitaram Yechury but the Central Committee of the CPI(M) decided to maintain equidistance from the Congress and BJP. The CPI(M) now has only two MPs in the Lok Sabha — Mohammad Selim and Badaruddoza Khan.