With CPI(M) general secretary, Sitaram Yechury opting out of what could have been his third term in Rajya Sabha despite Congress high- command’s assurance for supporting his nomination, the Congress candidate may be chosen between Jadavpur University professor Omprakash Mishra and Deepa Dasmunsi, wife of former Congress minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi.
Deepa Dasmunshi was the Congress candidate against Mamata Banerjee in the 2016 Assembly elections in Bhawanipore constituency.
The term of sitting Congress Rajya Sabha member Pradip Bhattacharya’s term ends in August. State Congress leaders are in favour of replacing him with someone with a strong anti-Trinamool Congress image, Omprakash Mishra.
Both Mishra and Dasmunshi have strong anti-Trinamool image. Party sources said that both state Congress president, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and leader of Congress legislative party in West Bengal assembly, Abdul Mannan are tilted towards Mishra.
“Since it is certain that Congress will be able to get their lone candidate elected in the Upper House from the state, we would like to have someone who can attack BJP’s communal policies as well as fight for Bengal’s interests in the Upper House,” said a senior state Congress leader.
When contacted by HT, state Congress president neither confirmed nor denied his preference. “Let the Congress high- command first seek our opinion about Mishra and then we will surely place our logic. Obviously, since the seat is from Bengal, the political compulsions relating to the state will find an important place in the logic placed by the state Congress unit,” Chowdhury said.
Significantly, Bhattacharya is known to be close to the All India Congress Committee (AICC) high-command in New Delhi.
Re-election for six Rajya Sabha seats from West Bengal will be held this year. Besides Yechury and Bhattacharya, the terms of four other sitting members are coming to end in August this year. They are Debabrata Bandopadhyay, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, Derek O’Brien, Dola Sen and Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, all from Trinamool Congress.