KOLKATA: The Left Front today decided to field its own candidate for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections in West Bengal.
Left Front chairman Biman Bose, today announced the name of Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, a senior CPI(M) leader and former mayor of Kolkata, as their candidate.
"We had approached the Congress with the idea of fielding a Independent candidate jointly. But the Congress fielded their own candidate so we had decided to field Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya," a senior Left Front leader said.
The idea to field a candidate comes as a jolt to the Left-Congress alliance in the state, which had fought the last assembly polls together in the state.
The Trinamool Congress had already decided to support Congress in the upcoming elections for the Rajya Sabha seats from West Bengal if it nominates Pradip Bhattacharya as its candidate.
The polls will be held for the six Rajya Sabha seats from the state on August 8. Out of the six, four are held by the TMC, one by the CPI(M) and one by the Congress.
The TMC, however, with its increased strength after the 2016 assembly polls, is in a position to send five MPs to the Rajya Sabha. The Congress, the second largest party, will be able to elect one MP on its own strength.
With the present strength of the assembly and the number of Rajya Sabha seats going to polls, a candidate will need about 43 votes to get elected to the RS.
The CPI(M)-led Left Front has 32 MLAs in the assembly.
The Congress has 44 MLAs and the ruling TMC has 211 members.
Although eight Congress MLAs and one Left MLA have switched over to the TMC, they are yet to resign from their parent parties. Only Manas Bhunia, a Congress MLA, resigned yesterday to contest the Rajya Sabha polls as a TMC candidate.
He had joined TMC in September last year.