Swapan Dasgupta quits Rajya Sabha after row over Bengal BJP candidature

A day earlier, TMC had pointed out a nominated Rajya Sabha member cannot join any political party

Swapan Dasgupta
The six-year term of Dasgupta, who has been a member of the Upper House since April 2016, ends in April 2022 | File Photo: Facebook

BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Swapan Dasgupta on Tuesday resigned from the Upper House following his candidature in the upcoming West Bengal assembly elections. This comes a day after Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra pointed out that according to constitutional rules, a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha is not allowed to join any political party.

The six-year term of Dasgupta, who has been a member of the Upper House since April 2016, ends in April 2022. Reports suggest he has sent his resignation requesting that it be accepted by Wednesday. He has been fielded by the BJP from Tarakeswar constituency in the state’s Hooghly district. Tarakeswar votes in the third phase on April 6, 2021.

Speaking to NDTV, he had said that he hopes to file his nomination by Thursday or Friday, and that there are many outstanding issues due to his status as a presidential nominee in Rajya Sabha, which must be resolved before he files the nomination. However, he had not responded to TMC’s Moitra but said all clearances will be secured before filing nomination.

“Swapan Dasgupta Resigns From Rajya Sabha. Thank you Sir- we wish you well for the upcoming WB polls,” said Moitra, who had on Monday first flagged constitutional rules pertaining to the BJP leader’s candidature.

Related news | Didi vs Shah as pain politics dominates crucial Bengal polls

Moitra had on Monday said that the “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.” Referring to Dasgupta’s candidature, she said he “must be disqualified NOW for joining BJP [sic].”

She followed it up with a screengrab from the Rajya Sabha website with the text: “Following up on my previous tweet – Rajya Sabha website as of today says Swapan Dasgupta is nominated & not formally BJP. If he files nomination as @BJP candidate he should be disqualified according to the Constitution’s 10th Schedule (Para 2 (3)).”

Meanwhile, responding to a local media article that stated that said questions are being raised within her party that whether she had alerted Dasgupta before it’s too late, Moitra called it a “press mischief” and that they must get their facts straight. “1. Dasgupta CAN contest – nomination will NOT be cancelled due to RS 2. BUT will lose RS when he files as BJP WB candidate Either resign RS now or be disqualified. No safety net,” she said.

Analysis | Why a wheelchair may decide Mamata vs BJP battle in Bengal