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TMC gets BJP help to pip Congress in rare show

Cracks appeared in the opposition camp in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday after the Trinamool Congress won the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party and other parties, and its candidate defeated a Congress one in an election for the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation.

Typically, a Rajya Sabha member is elected onto the Governing Council of ESIC, along with representatives of the states and trade unions. Senior Congress leader Pradeep Bhattacharya was in the fray for the seat left vacant after TMC’s Debabrata Bandyopadhyay retired.

TMC, maintaining that the practice is for the same party to retain the seat, fielded its MP Dola Sen. The CPI(M) too, fielded its candidate, Elamaram Kareem, following arrangements with the Opposition ranks.

In the vote that took place on Wednesday in the three-corner contest, Trinamool, a party with 13 MPs in the Rajya Sabha, won the election with 90 of the 156 votes polled while the Congress stood second with 46 votes. The CPI(M) got only 8 votes.The Congress has 48 members in the Rajya Sabha and the BJP, 78.

Congress blamed the TMC for taking help of the BJP, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Biju Janata Dal to defeat the Opposition candidate. “TMC never communicated to us that it wants the seat. Then it reached out to BJP for votes,” said Bhattacharya.

“In West Bengal, 71 BJP workers have been killed by the TMC, yet the BJP supported TMC to keep Congress out,” he said.

The TMC hit out at the Congress for “forcing” an election for a seat that was “allotted to Trinamool for many years”. Its Rajya Sabha chief whip Sukhendu Sekhar Ray alleged it was Congress that joined hands with the BJP to defeat it in the Lok Sabha election in West Bengal.

“It is ridiculous to allege that anyone joined hands for a membership to a Rajya Sabha board. People are aware how the Congress and CPIM joined hands with the BJP to defeat our candidates in the Lok Sabha elections and to what extent votes of the CPIM and the Congress votes shifted to the BJP,” Ray said.

First Published:
Jul 11, 2019 05:46 IST

Source: HindustanTimes