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RS poll a no contest in Bengal after EC rejects papers of CPI(M) candidate

The poll panel rejected Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya’s papers after he failed to provide all documents, which means the Congress candidate gets into the Rajya Sabha. Ruling Trinamool will also get five members to the Upper House.

cities Updated: Jul 31, 2017 14:22 IST
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Election Commission,Rajya Sabha election,West Bengal
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s decision to back the Congress candidate for the Rajya Sabha is being seen as a move to bring opposition parties together for the 2019 Lok Sabha election.(PTI photo)

The election commission on Monday rejected the papers of CPI (M) candidate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya for the Rajya Sabha poll, ruling him out of the contest and putting a lid over the drama playing out in West Bengal.

The rejection of Bhattacharya’s candidature means that all five candidates of the ruling Trinamool Congress and one of Congress will enter the Upper House of Parliament without a contest.

The election for 10 Rajya Sabha seats, including three in Gujarat and one in Madhya Pradesh, is to be held on August 8.

The Communist party of India (Marxist) leader failed to submit documents in time hence his nomination stood cancelled, the election commission said on Monday.

In any case, Bhattacharya’s push to get into the Rajya Sabha was off to a bad start.

When he submitted his papers on July 28, the poll watchdog objected, saying he had overshot the 3pm deadline.

The EC forwarded the nomination for scrutiny, accepting the CPI(M) lawmakers argument that they were well in time.

But on Monday, they were told that Bhattacharya had not submitted the additional affidavit, which has details of property and income among other things.

The party said the mistake was unintentional and the nomination be cleared but Trinamool secretary general and education minister Partha Chatterjee and Congress MLA Abdul Mannan opposed the argument.

CPI(M) MLA Sujan Chakrabarty cried conspiracy while Chatterjee accused the Left party of tarnishing the image of the poll panel.

Had the papers been accepted, Bhattacharya would have gone up against Congress’s Pradip Bhattacharya who is assured of a second term with chief minister Mamata Banerjee pledging supporting to him.

Banerjee’s decision to back the Congress is being seen as the start of a new partnership ahead of the Lok Sabha election.

The opposition’s effort to come together to take on the BJP in the 2019 election were dealt a blow when Nitish Kumar jumped the ship to join hands with the BJP.

“From the sequence of events it can be well inferred that the Congress-Left Front understanding that was reached in 2016 assembly elections is over for now,” a city-based political analyst said on condition of anonymity.

First Published: Jul 31, 2017 14:22 IST