TMC likely to put up new faces for Rajya Sabha poll

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Updated: Feb 28, 2020 4:02 PM

Political circles are also abuzz with the name of Prashant Kishor as the TMC leadership is happy with his service in reviving the organisation after the party's performance in the Lok Sabha polls.

According to TMC sources, apart from Manish Gupta, the other three MPs are most likely to be replaced by new faces, who are "more active". (File image)According to TMC sources, apart from Manish Gupta, the other three MPs are most likely to be replaced by new faces, who are “more active”. (File image)

The Trinamool Congress leadership is likely to put up fresh faces for the Rajya Sabha election in West Bengal next month, but yet to take a call on putting up a candidate for the fifth seat, sources said.

According to the distribution of seats in the assembly, the TMC will get four Rajya Sabha seats, whereas a joint candidate of either the CPI(M)-Congress or the TMC-Congress will have to win the fifth one.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which has just eight MLAs in the 294-member House, is not a contender.

Of the five seats that will fall vacant, four are held by Jogen Chowdhury, Manish Gupta, Ahmed Hassan Imran and K D Singh of the TMC.

The fifth seat is held by Ritabrata Banerjee, who was earlier elected as a CPI(M) nominee in 2014, but was expelled from the party in 2017.

According to TMC sources, apart from Manish Gupta, the other three MPs are most likely to be replaced by new faces, who are “more active”.

“Other than Manish Gupta, the party is not happy with the performance of the three other TMC MPs in the Rajya Sabha,” a party leader told PTI on condition of anonymity. “So, most likely, we will have new faces in those seats.”

“Given the situation in national politics, we need more active politicians and parliamentarians in the Rajya Sabha,” the senior leader said.

The names of several probables, such as Dinesh Trivedi, Prashant Kishor, Mausam Noor and Ritabrata Banerjee, are doing the rounds.

Trivedi, who lost the 2019 Lok Sabha election, is a former two-time MP from Barrackpore, while Mausam Noor is a former Congress MP from Malda who switched over to the TMC just ahead of the election. However, she had to bite the dust in the 2019 polls.

Political circles are also abuzz with the name of Prashant Kishor as the TMC leadership is happy with his service in reviving the organisation after the party’s performance in the Lok Sabha polls.

“Three of the MPs are good speakers and have a proven track record as parliamentarians. However, Prashant Kishor is not associated with any party currently,” the TMC leader said. “There are few other names too. By next week, the names will be announced.”

According to another TMC leader, no call had been taken on the issue of whether to contest the fifth seat.

“Contesting the fifth seat will be a dilemma for us. Because in order to win that seat, there has to be cross voting of MLAs, just like 2014 Rajya Sabha polls,” the MLA said. “But given the present political situation, when the BJP has emerged as a main challenger, we don’t think that would be a wise decision.”

The CPI(M)’s West Bengal unit has proposed party general secretary Sitaram Yechury’s name as its candidate from the state for the fifth seat for the Rajya Sabha election, which is scheduled on March 26.

However, the party politburo will take the final decision on this matter.

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