West Bengal polls: Swapan Dasgupta tenders resignation from Rajya Sabha, to contest on BJP ticket
After being named as a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate in the upcoming West Bengal elections, writer and columnist Swapan Dasgupta has submitted his resignation as MP to the Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday.
In a tweet, Dasgupta informed his decision to resign from the Rajya Sabha today. “I 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,” he said.
Dasgupta is among the several MPs and MLAs to leave Trinamool Congress (TMC) and jump ship to the BJP ahead of the West Bengal elections. Had Dasgupta not tendered his resignation, he would be disqualified from the Upper House.
Dasgupta’s resignation comes after the TMC pointed out that according to constitutional rules a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha cannot join a political party. TMC leader Mahua Moitra had put out a tweet stating that a nominated RS member could be disqualified if he/she joined a political party six months from the oath. In 2016, late President Pranab Mukherjee nominated Dasgupta as a member of the Rajya Sabha.
According to the 10th Schedule of the Constitution, “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.”
The columnist will contest in the West Bengal elections as a BJP candidate from Tarakeshwar. Dasgupta is yet to file his nominations. Reportedly, he has time till March 19 to file his nominations.
Meanwhile, the BJP is facing the ire of its supporters in West Bengal over the fielding of many former TMC members as BJP candidates. According to reports, many BJP supporters protested outside the BJP office in Kolkata and going to the extent of heckling senior leaders such as Mukul Roy, Shiv Prakash and Arjun Singh. Some protestors even tried removing barricades set up by the police to prevent the mob from entering the BJP buildings.
There are reports that several BJP workers ransacked BJP offices in districts of West Bengal over the move. Many BJP leaders are also unhappy after being denied a ticket in the upcoming polls with several likely to join other political parties or become independent candidates. Reportedly, the rebel BJP workers and supporters may field independent candidates and ensure their victory over former TMC turned BJP candidates.