Kolkata: The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Sunday announced the names of journalist Sagarika Ghose, party leader Sushmita Dev and two others for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls from the state.
Elections to the five Rajya Sabha seats from West Bengal will be held on February 27.
"We are pleased to announce the candidature of @sagarikaghose, @SushmitaDevAITC, @MdNadimulHaque6 and Mamata Bala Thakur for the forthcoming Rajya Sabha elections", the party posted on X.
We are pleased to announce the candidature of @sagarikaghose, @SushmitaDevAITC, @MdNadimulHaque6 and Mamata Thakur for the forthcoming Rajya Sabha elections.— All India Trinamool Congress (@AITCofficial) February 11, 2024
We extend our heartfelt wishes to them and may they work towards upholding Trinamool’s enduring legacy of indomitable…
"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", it said.
While Nadimul Haque, a two-time Rajya Sabha MP, finds himself back in the limelight, the decision not to renominate three sitting MPs — Subhasish Chakraborty, Abir Biswas, and Santanu Sen — marks a notable shift in the party's strategy.
Ghose, a renowned journalist, is yet to officially join the TMC.
Former Congress leader Dev, who had joined the TMC in 2021, has been the party's Rajya Sabha MP from October 2021 to August 2023, after TMC leader Manas Bhunia vacated the seat to join the West Bengal cabinet.
Dev, who is also TMC's national spokesperson, looks after the party's affairs in Assam.
However, the nomination that's captured significant attention is that of former Lok Sabha MP and Matua leader Mamata Bala Thakur. A two-time Lok Sabha MP, Thakur faced defeat in the Matua-dominated Bongaon seat to BJP's Shantanu Thakur, a relative, in 2019.
Thakur's nomination comes amidst BJP's efforts to court the Matua community with promises of implementing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. The Matua community's cohesive voting behaviour makes them a crucial voting bloc, particularly aligned with the BJP's stance on the CAA.
Riding on the promises of the CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the Matua community played a pivotal role in the saffron surge in the state during the 2019 elections.
Expressing gratitude for the opportunity to serve the masses, veteran journalist Nadimul Haque acknowledged the support of TMC leaders Mamata Banerjee and Abhishek Banerjee.
"I thank our party supremo Mamata Banerjee and general secretary Abhishek Banerjee for providing me this opportunity for the third time to serve the masses," he said.
With the TMC enjoying a comfortable majority of 217 in the 294-member assembly, including the support of six BJP MLAs who defected to the ruling party but are yet to resign, the party's dominance in the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections seems assured.
Though the official tally of the BJP in the assembly is 74, unofficially it is 68, owing to defections.
As per the strength in the assembly, out of the five Rajya Sabha seats, the TMC is set to claim four, while the BJP will secure the fifth.