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Congress MLAs on Friday wrote a letter to party national president Sonia Gandhi, urging her to take them into confidence before finalising the Rajya Sabha candidate from the state. The six-year tenure of Congress Rajya Sabha MP Pradeep Bhattacharya and five others will come to an end in August, and a Rajya Sabha election has been scheduled for June 8. With the present strength of the Opposition in the state Legislative Assembly, only one Opposition candidate will be elected as an RS MP.
Being the main Opposition in the state, the Congress will be able to put up its candidate for the post, for which nominations will begin on May 22. In view of the Rajya Sabha election, Congress MLAs said the party’s high command should keep them “in confidence” before finalising the candidate.
“We have seen in the past that party leaders who were made Rajya Sabha MPs from West Bengal had no coordination with state MLAs. We do not want a repetition of that. Being elected representatives of the party, we have every right to ask our party president to keep us in confidence before finalising the names of our candidate. We must not be kept in dark about it,” Congress MLA and party chief whip Manoj Chakraborty told The Indian Express.
He added that the letter, which was signed by Leader of the Opposition Abdul Mannan, has been mailed to the party president. Party sources said the state Congress unit was uncomfortable with the growing bonhomie between party president Sonia Gandhi and CM Mamata Banerjee, and does not want a candidate who would be soft on Mamata.