The upcoming Assembly bypolls to three seats seems to have given the Left Front and Congress a stronger understanding of the significance of a coalition. Now, in the scenario of such a tie-up, the CPM is hoping that an alliance candidate would be elected as Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha for the first time.
The bypolls will be held on November 25. In February next year, six Rajya Sabha seats will be vacant. As per poll arithmetic, five seats will be in the ruling party’s pocket and the sixth one with the Opposition. In this one seat, Ritabrata Banerjee is now MP. He was expelled from the CPM around two years ago and now he is in the TMC fold. In the West Bengal Assembly, the maximum number of first-preference votes required to win the Rajya Sabha election is 49. The Congress has around 40 MLAs and the Left Front has 30. So, if the Congress and CPM field a joint candidate, they may well be able to secure an easy victory.
In the previous two Rajya Sabha elections in the state Assembly, Congress candidates Pradip Bhattacharya and Abhishek Manu Singhvi won. Now, the CPM is hoping that the Congress will support their candidate. A senior CPM leader said, “This proposal didn’t surfaced formally yet. But, surely there is some conversation between our state leadership and that of the Congress. We gave support to the Congress in two of three seats in the bypoll. We are just demanding some support in return. Because, for 50 or more years, there has no Bengali left voice present in Parliament. So that is important now.”
However, there are some counter views, too. Opposition leader and Congress veteran Abdul Mannan has already said that the Congress should support TMC in Kharagpur-Sadar seat in the bypoll and wrote to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in this regard. This sparked speculation that the move was a bid to confirm his candidature in the Rajya Sabha election. However, Mannan denied this. “I do not need to prove myself to anybody. Whatever our party chief says, I will do that only.”
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