Trinamool to field former Bengal Power Minister for Rajya Sabha

Kolkata, March 1 (IANS) West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress on Wednesday nominated former state Power Minister Manish Gupta as its candidate for only vacant Rajya Sabha seat in the state up for the March 17 election.

“We have unanimously decided to nominate our ex Power Minister Manish Gupta for the only seat available from this state in the upcoming Rajya Sabha election,” Trinamool Secretary General Partha Chatterjee told reporters here after the party’s core committee meeting here.

The seat became empty after actor-turned Trinamool MP Mithun Chakraborty resigned from the Rajya Sabha last December citing health reasons.

Gupta, a former state Chief Secretary, emerged as a giant-killer by humbling then Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee from Jadavpur constituency in the 2011 assembly polls that ended the Left Front rule and brought Trinamool to power.

Gupta joined new Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet as Power Minister, but lost the election from the same seat in last year’s assembly polls.

However, Banerjee has appointed him as an Advisor to the Chief Minister on power and non-conventional energy sources in the rank of a cabinet minister.

Chatterjee also announced that former Minister of State for Health Chandrima Bhattacharya will be the party candidate for the coming by-polls to the Kanthi Dakshin seat. The seat has fallen vacant after the sitting legislator Dibyendu Adhikari was elected to Lok Sabha from the Tamluk seat in a by-poll last year.

Bhattacharya had lost from Dum Dum (North) seat in last year’s assembly polls.