The Trinamool Congress today sprang a surprise for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls by nominating trenchant BJP critic and journalist Sagarika Ghose and Sushmita Dev, who is considered the party’s north-east face. Dev’s previous term had ended last year and Mamata Banerjee had chosen to send social worker Samirul Islam in her place.
In a clear outreach to the Matua community which has a significant presence and can play a decisive role in any poll across several districts in the State, the Trinamool Congress announced the name Mamata Bala Thakur, who is the member of the family which heads the Matua sect.
Md Nadimul Haque is the only Rajya Sabha MP who was re-nominated.
Congress MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who was elected from Bengal with Trinamool support, is likely to relocate to Rajasthan and get a nomination from there.
Elections to the five Rajya Sabha seats from West Bengal will be held on February 27 and the Trinamool Congress is certain to win the four seats while the BJP is poised to get its second Rajya Sabha seat from the State.
The Trinamool Congress did not renominate Santanu Sen, Subhashis Chakraborty and Abir Biswas. Party sources said Santanu Sen and Subhasis Chakraborty were likely to contest the Lok Sabha elections.
Elections will be held for five seats in Bengal which are to fall vacant in April, along with 51 others in the rest of the country.
“We are pleased to announce the candidature of Sagarika Ghose, Sushmita Dev, Mohammad Nadimul Haque and Mamata Bala Thakur for the forthcoming Rajya Sabha elections. We extend our heartfelt wishes to them and may they work towards upholding Trinamool’s enduring legacy of indomitable spirit and advocacy for the rights of every Indian,” the party announced on its official X handle on Sunday afternoon.
The fifth nominee will be from the BJP which is yet to announce the name. BJP sources said that the Central leadership was likely to announce the name of its candidate this week after consulting the State party leadership.
Meanwhile, BJP sources said Union Home Minister Amit Shah is likely to pay a two-day visit to West Bengal by the month-end to take stock of the BJP’s preparedness for the Lok Sabha elections in the State.