Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, to whom the ruling Trinamool Congress has extended support, today filed his nomination for the Rajya Sabha election from West Bengal. His name was proposed by 40 MLAs -- 20 each from the Congress and the TMC. Accompanied by some Congress MLAs, Singhvi filed his papers to the returning officer at the state Assembly here. Along with Singhvi, four TMC candidates and one CPI(M) candidate too filed their nominations for the elections to the total five RS seats in the state. The four Trinamool candidates are -- Nadimul Haque, who was renominated, Subhasish Chakraborty, Abir Biswas and Dr Santunu Sen. CPI(M)-led Left Front has nominated Rabin Deb for the fifth seat. The election for the five Rajya Sabha seats will be held on March 23. A candidate requires 49 votes to win the RS poll, state Assembly sources said. The Congress, the second largest party, has a strength of 42 MLAs in the state Assembly and will be able to elect one RS MP on its own strength. The TMC, with its increased strength after the 2016 Assembly polls, is in a position to send four MPs to the Rajya Sabha. West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee had announced last week that her party would support Singhvi for the fifth RS seat from the state. Her statement has assumed significance as state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury had advocated that the Congress and the Left should support an independent candidate in the fifth RS seat from the state. Asked whether the TMC's support to his candidature was any indication for the TMC-Congress tie up in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Singhvi said, "The present political situation demands that there should not be any division in the anti-BJP votes". "In the present situation our task should be to stop the match of divisive forces and the BJP in the country. And in order to do that we have ensure that there is no division in the anti-BJP votes," he said. In the morning, Singhvi held a meeting with Congress MLAs and state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury in the Assembly. TMC secretary general and minister Partha Chatterjee met Singhvi in the Assembly. Election to the five Rajya Sabha seats from the state have been necessitated as the terms of Kunal Ghosh, Bibek Gupta and Nadimul Haque of the TMC and Tapan Sen of CPI(M) will end on April 2. Mukul Roy, who quit the TMC and joined the BJP last year, has already resigned from the Rajya Sabha. The CPI(M)-led Left Front, which does not have the numbers in the state Assembly to win the RS poll, said that they have fielded candidate because they want to work for the people. "It is not about my victory or loss.
I appeal to all the MLAs to be guided by their conscience while voting," LF candidate Rabin Deb said. Left Front Chairman Biman Bose had stated last week that discussions were on between the Congress and the Left regarding nominating an independent candidate jointly. "But all of a sudden, the Congress high command had announced their candidate. In such a situation we were left with no choice other than nominating senior Left leader Rabin Deb in the fifth seat," Bose had said.
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