The BJP will not contest the bypoll to a Rajya Sabha seat from Bengal, meaning the ruling Trinamool Congress’ pick – ex-Prasad Bharti CEO Jawhar Sircar – will be elected unopposed. The seat fell vacant after Trinamool leader Dinesh Trivedi resigned to join the BJP ahead of the April-May election.
Jawhar Sircar filed his nomination papers last week in the presence of the Trinamool’s Secretary General, Partha Chatterjee. Mr Sircar thanked the party for placing confidence in him.
“I will try to meet their confidence in me… I have been greatly touched by the fighting spirit of Mamata Banerjee in the Assembly polls,” he was quoted by news agency PTI.
The party has said it picked Mr Sircar for his “invaluable contribution to public service”.
“Mamata Banerjee’s victory (in the election) in the face of a vicious campaign and personal attacks proved that the more BJP attacks, the greater will be the fightback,” Mr Chatterjee was quoted by PTI.
The senior Trinamool leader also slammed the BJP over controversial allegations that police stopped members of poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s IPAC from leaving their hotel in Tripura’s Agartala.
“The reaction of the BJP in Tripura to the visit of Prashant Kishor’s team showed they (the BJP) are scared,” Mr Chatterjee claimed.
Mr Kishor helped mastermind Ms Banerjee’s Assembly election win and has since been speaking to the Gandhi family and the Congress ahead of crucial polls in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh next year.
Jawhar Sircar, who spent over four decades in public service, made headlines after accusing Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Shah of not following constitutional norms and provisions.
He resigned from Prasar Bharati in 2016, four months before his scheduled retirement.
“I have been a bureaucrat all my life… I am not a political person. But I will definitely work for the people and raise issues concerning them,” he had said when his nomination was announced.
The Rajya Sabha by-poll was scheduled for August 9, but with the BJP now not contesting, Mr Sircar’s election to parliament is now a formality.
With input from PTI