Columnist Swapan Dasgupta, a BJP candidate for the Bengal election, resigned from the Rajya Sabha today, a day after the Trinamool Congress referred to constitutional rules to say he would be disqualified if he joined a political party. Swapan Dasgupta sent his resignation with the request that it be accepted by tomorrow.
“I have resigned from the Rajya Sabha today to commit myself totally to the fight for a better Bengal. I hope to file my nomination as BJP candidate for the Tarakeshwar Assembly seat in the next few days,” said the 65-year-old, whose Rajya Sabha term was till April 2022.
On Monday, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra had tweeted that nominated members of the Rajya Sabha can be disqualified if they join a political party after a six-month period from their oath. She pointed out that Mr Dasgupta, who was nominated to the upper house by former President Pranab Mukherjee in 2016, hasn’t declared any allegiance to the BJP.
“Swapan Dasgupta is BJP candidate for WB polls. 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. Must be disqualified NOW for joining BJP,” Ms Moitra tweeted.
In an interview , Mr Dasgupta said: “I have a particular status in the Rajya Sabha as a presidential nominee. I am contesting this election as a BJP candidate from Tarakeshwar. Naturally, between two things, there are a lot of outstanding issues. The nomination process involves resolving all these. And all these issues will be resolved by the time I file my nomination. I haven’t yet filed my nomination. I hope to do so either on Thursday or on Friday.”
He denied that his move was in response to Mahua Moitra’s post. “I am not responding to anything. I am just saying that there are a lot of outstanding issues, a lot of clearances which we have to get from various institutions including parliament before you file your nomination. And all these will be secured before I file my nomination,” he repeated.
The rules say a nominated member of a House “shall be disqualified for being a member of the House if he joins any political party after the expiry of six months from the date on which he takes his seat”.
Mr Dasgupta, a columnist and a political commentator, was named by the BJP as a candidate last week. Lok Sabha MPs Babul Supriyo, Locket Chatterjee have also been fielded in the election starting March 27. The results will be announced on May 2.
The Trinamool’s demand for Mr Dasgupta’s disqualification cropped up as the BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari yesterday alleged flaws in Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nomination documents filed in Nandigram, where the two are rivals. The BJP called the Trinamool’s objections to Swapan Dasgupta a “non-controversy” since he had resigned before filing his nomination as a BJP candidate.