BJP will get first member from Bengal in Rajya Sabha elections!

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will get its first elected member to the Rajya Sabha from West Bengal when the biennial elections for the 10 vacant seats in the Upper House are held next month.

The Election Commission on Tuesday announced the schedule for the Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat, West Bengal and Goa. Voting and counting of votes for these 10 seats in three states is to be held on July 24. The poll watchdog’s notification said that the reason for these seats falling vacant is the retirement of the sitting members.

Among the outgoing MPs, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Trinamool Congress (TMC) Rajya Sabha floor leader Derek O’Brien are prominent MPs. Both are sure to return to the Upper House.

The largest share of seats – six out of 10 – are from West Bengal.

The BJP’s tally of 77 seats in the last West Bengal assembly election (now reduced to 70 due to defections and resignations) could be converted into one Rajya Sabha seat, likely at the cost of the Congress’s sitting MP. (MP), Pradeep Bhattacharya.

TMC, which has 220 of the 294 seats in the assembly, is expected to win another five seats. It will also likely win the sixth seat, where the vacancy was caused by the resignation of Luizinho Faleiro, who became a TMC Rajya Sabha member in 2021. The party will continue to be the largest opposition party in Parliament after the Congress.

Certainly, the Rajya Sabha has seen BJP leaders coming from West Bengal becoming its first members. But MPs like Roopa Ganguly or Swapan Dasgupta were nominated to the Upper House by the President and not elected by the MPs. Ahead of the 2021 assembly polls, the BJP was a marginal player in the state, finishing fourth in an electoral contest dominated by the TMC, the Left Front and the Congress.

The departure of two-time MP Bhattacharya marks the decline of the Congress in West Bengal, which sends the third largest party to the Lok Sabha after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

The Congress and the Left, which fought the 2021 elections together, could not win a single seat in the Bengal assembly for the first time.

The list of members whose term is due to end in July and August, leading to vacancies, is as follows: Vinay Tendulkar (Goa), Dineshchandra Jemalbhai Anavadia (Gujarat), Jugalsinh Mathur (Gujarat), S Jaishankar (Gujarat), Derek O’Brien (West Bengal), Dola Sen (West Bengal), Pradip Bhattacharya (West Bengal), Sushmita Dev (West Bengal), Shanta Chhetri (West Bengal), and Sukhendu Shekhar Ray (West Bengal).

Notification for the election will be issued on July 6, followed by July 13, the last date for nominations. The scrutiny of nominations will be held on July 14 and the last date for withdrawal of candidature has been fixed as July 17. The polling is scheduled for July 24, with the timings of polling being from 9 am to 4 pm. The counting of votes will begin on the same day at 5 pm and the entire election process is expected to be completed by July 26.