Swapan Dasgupta Resigns From Rajya Sabha After Row Over BJP Candidature in Bengal

The BJP had announced that Dasgupta would be contesting the elections on March 14.

New Delhi: A day after a political row over him contesting as a Bharatiya Janata Party candidate in West Bengal while also holding the post of an ‘independent’ Rajya Sabha MP, Swapan Dasgupta has resigned from the Upper House.

Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra had on Monday called for Dasgupta’s disqualification from the Rajya Sabha, and the TMC was reportedly going to ask the house chairman, M. Venkaiah Naidu, formally to dismiss the leader on Tuesday.

Dasgupta announced his resignation on Twitter, saying he would now “commit [himself] totally” to the elections in Bengal.

“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,” Dasgupta told NDTV about his resignation.

The BJP had announced that Dasgupta would be contesting the elections on March 14. It is unclear why he chose not to resign until the problem was pointed out by other parties, which demanded his disqualification.

While pointing out the issue on Monday, Moitra attached the Tenth Schedule to her tweet and highlighted point number 3 which states: “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.”

Dasgupta was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in April 2016 and his term expires in 2022. On March 14, he was named by the BJP as its candidate from Tarakeswar.

Soon after his name was announced for the seat by the BJP, Dasgupta tweeted his acceptance of the nomination and said: “Honoured to be nominated by the West Bengal BJP to contest from Tarakeshwar—a centre of Bengal’s cultural heritage. I look forward to the campaign for a new, vibrant Sonar Bangla.”

When The Wire contacted him to seek his view on his possible disqualification on Monday, Dasgupta had said, “I would not like to discuss it.”