Ex-mayor and noted lawyer Bikash Bhattacharya to contest Bengal RS seat as Left-Congress candidate
Eminent lawyer and former mayor of Kolkata, Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, was formally nominated on Tuesday evening as the consensus candidate of the Left and Congress for the Rajya Sabha seat from West Bengal.
The announcement was made by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury in Delhi as Bhattacharya is a member of the party. He will be contesting the fifth Rajya Sabha seat from the state that will fall vacant.
The election will be held on March 26.
Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee had earlier announced the names of four party leaders for the rest of the seats.
Since the TMC is not contesting the fifth seat, Bhattacharya’s victory is certain as Left parties and Congress have the required strength in the assembly, opposition leaders in the state said.
“The Congress central leadership gave consent to Bhattacharya’s candidature on Monday,” said Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra.
Left parties from Bengal have no presence in either House of Parliament right now.
Bhattacharya had earlier served as the advocate general of Tripura. He was mayor of Kolkata from 2005 to 2010. He is currently representing some people who have filed petitions challenging the Citizenship (Amendment) Act before the Supreme Court.
He is also representing a number of petitioners in cases related to chit fund scams in the state.
Bhattacharya had contested the Jadavpur Lok Sabha seat in south Kolkata last year but lost to the TMC’s Mimi Chakraborty.
Ever since discussions over fielding candidates for the Rajya Sabha began in the state, the CPI(M) wanted a legal expert as its candidate in the Upper House in view of citizenship screening exercises in the country, party leaders said.
The CPI(M) also thought of nominating a retired Supreme Court judge and discussions were carried out but the former judge did not want to enter the fray, saying he would feel uncomfortable among politicians.
“I will try to do my best as a Rajya Sabha member,” Bhattacharya said while speaking to HT.