West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has nominated former West Bengal Congress spokesperson Sukhendu Shekhar Roy for Rajya Sabha polls. Roy had left the Congress in May after 43 years to join Banerjee's Trinamool Congress.
Another old-timer, Pradip Bhattacharya, who waited for more than four decades, was made the state Congress chief a month ago and, on Saturday, secured the lone nomination for the Rajya Sabha polls.
From Gujarat, TV actor and president of All-India BJP Mahila Morcha Smriti Irani and a veteran Jan Sangh leader Dilip Pandya have been nominated by the BJP.
Three Rajya Sabha seats are going vacant from Gujarat this month. The Congress is repeating party chief Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel for the fourth term in the upper house of Parliament. Elections to fill up 11 vacancies - including six from West Bengal and one each from Maharashtra and Goa - are slated for July 22 while July 12 is the last day for filing nominations. Each candidate will have to poll 42 votes.
Looking back, high court lawyer Roy said it had been a long political journey (in the Congress), but Banerjee had given him the best he could ask for at this stage of his life. "This shows Mamata's generosity and leadership. She sounded me out before announcing my nomination," said Roy. "Those who are saying my becoming a Trinamool MP will disturb the alliance are wrong. It will be strengthened."
Trinamool, with 184 members in the legislative assembly, has also nominated Debabrata Bandopadhyay, Derek O' Brien and Srinjoy Bose for the RS seat. The Left Front, which has 61 MLAs, is fielding CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury. Congress has 42 MLAs.
The Congress has nominated sitting member Shantaram Naik from Goa. From Maharashtra, the party has fielded Hussain Dalwai, who is state Congress spokesperson.
(with agency inputs)