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Dasgupta resigns from RS before Bengal polls

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New Delhi: Swapan Dasgupta, the Bharatiya Janata Party‘s (BJP) candidate for the Tarakeshwar assembly constituency in West Bengal, tendered his resignation to Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday, after both the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Congress raised the issue of a nominated and unaffiliated member of the Upper House contesting the assembly elections as a candidate of a party.

Officials from the Rajya Sabha secretariat said they received Dasgupta’s letter on Tuesday.

“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,” Dasgupta tweeted on Tuesday morning.

Dasgupta was nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the President in April 2016. According to the 10th Schedule that deals with disqualification of MPs: “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 after complying with the requirements of Article 99 or, as the case may be, Article 188.”

Articles 99 and 188 of the Indian Constitution relate to oath-taking of lawmakers.

Dasgupta did not declare his affiliation with the BJP within six months.

His name on the Rajya Sabha website is listed in the category of nominated members, unlike some other nominated MPs such as Rakesh Sinha, Subramaniam Swami and Roopa Ganguly who, after being nominated, aligned with the BJP.

On March 13, the BJP named him its candidate for the Tarakeshwar seat in Bengal’s Hoogly district.

On Monday, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra tweeted: “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.”

On Tuesday, Congress MP, Jairam Ramesh raised the issue of Dasgupta’s candidature with Rajya Sabha chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu. He sought to know if Dasgupta has resigned.

Ramesh said that he personally met Naidu after sending a letter on Dasgupta. “The chairman told me that he had resigned.”

A person familiar with the matter who asked not to be named said Dasgupta “has time till March 19 to file his nomination papers for contesting the polls. Had he not resigned from the Rajya Sabha, he could have faced disqualification from the House.” The person added that Dasgupta’s resignation is subject to approval of the chair.

Shortly after his nomination on Sunday, several party leaders said they were not sure whether Dasgupta has become a member of the party. One leader said he can become a member after being named as a candidate.

Dasgupta has not tried to hide his association with the party. He was a member of the BJP’s delegations to the election commission, and also met President Ramnath Kovind regarding the death of a BJP MLA in July 2020.

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