KOLKATA: Former Kolkata Mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya is likely to be the consensus candidate of both the Congress and CPI(M) for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls, a senior Left party leader said on Monday.
Bhattacharya will "in all probability" be backed by both the parties but the final decision rests with the CPI(M) central leadership, he said.
Bhattacharya, a veteran Left leader and Calcutta High Court lawyer, had unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Jadavpur constituency.
"We have no objection to Bhattacharya becoming a RS member from West Bengal, supported by the Congress and the Left.
We need to fight the ruling Trinamool Congress and BJP together," a senior Congress leader said.
The Congress and the Left have a combined strength of 52 members in the West Bengal Assembly.
Rajya Sabha polls for the five seats of West Bengal will be held on March 26.
The election for the fifth seat will be a litmus test for the CPI(M)-Congress tie-up in the state.
On Sunday, Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee had announced the names of Arpita Ghosh, Mausam Noor, Dinesh Trivedi and Subrata Bakshi as the party candidates for the Rajya Sabha polls.
According to the distribution of seats in the assembly, the ruling TMC will get four seats in the Upper House of Parliament, whereas a joint candidate of either the CPI(M)-Congress or the TMC-Congress will have to win the fifth one.
Since the Lok Sabha poll debacle, the CPI(M) and Congress have been unitedly fighting against the TMC and the BJP in the state.
The fifth seat was held by Ritabrata Bandopadhyay, who was elected as a CPI(M) nominee in 2014, but expelled from the party in 2017.
Since his expulsion and post the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the CPI(M)'s West Bengal unit does not have any representation either in the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha.
This has happened for the first time since the party's inception in 1964. With just eight MLAs, the BJP is not a contender in the Rajya Sabha polls.