Amid furore over his candidature, Swapan Dasgupta resigns from Rajya Sabha
Swapan Dasgupta, the Bharatiya Janata Party‘s candidate for the Tarakeshwar assembly constituency in West Bengal, has tendered his resignation letter to Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu.
Officials from the Rajya Sabha secretariat told HT that they have received Dasgupta’s letter. A senior BJP leader also confirmed that Dasgupta has resigned.
Dasgupta tweeted, “I have resigned from the Rajya Sabha today to commit myself totally to the fight for a better Bengal. I hope to file my nomination as BJP candidate for the Tarakeshwar Assembly seat in the next few days.”
A person aware of the details said, “He has time till March 19 to file his nomination papers for contesting the polls. Had he not resigned from the Rajya Sabha, he could have faced disqualification from the House.” The person said Dasgupta’s resignation is subject to approval of the chair.
Dasgupta was nominated to Rajya Sabha by President of India in April 2016. According to the 10th Schedule that deals with disqualification of MPs, “A nominated member of a House shall be disqualified for being a member of the House if he joins any political party after the expiry of six months from the date on which he takes his seat after complying with the requirements of article 99 or, as the case may be, article 188.”
Articles 99 and 188 of the Indian Constitution relate to oath-taking of lawmakers.
Dasgupta, BJP’s candidate for the Tarakeshwar seat in Bengal’s Hoogly district, faced scrutiny from two Opposition leaders after his name was announced as a candidate.
On Monday, Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra had tweeted, “Swapan Dasgupta is BJP candidate for WB polls. 10th Schedule of Constitution says nominated RS member to be disqualified if he joins any political party AFTER expiry of 6 months from oath. He was sworn in April 2016, remains unallied. Must be disqualified NOW for joining BJP.”
Earlier today, Congress MP, Jairam Ramesh raised the issue of Dasgupta’s candidature with Rajya Sabha chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu. He sought to know if Dasgupta has resigned.
Dasgupta’s name on the Rajya Sabha website is listed in the category of nominated members, unlike some others nominated MPs such as Rakesh Sinha, Subramaniam Swami and Roopa Ganguly who, after being nominated, aligned with the BJP.
Jairam Ramesh told HT that he personally met Naidu after sending a letter on Dasgupta. “The chairman told me that he had resigned.”
Shortly after his nomination on Sunday, several party leaders who spoke to HT said they were not sure whether Dasgupta has taken formal membership of the party. One leader said he can become a member after being named as a candidate.
Even as Dasgupta did not join the BJP formally, he has continued to associate with the party. He was a member of the BJP’s delegations to the election commission and also met then President Pranab Mukherjee to seek a probe into the death of a BJP MLA from Hemtabad, Debnath Rai.