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Mamata bins Cong RS plea

March 16: The Trinamul Congress today announced the names of four candidates for the Rajya Sabha polls this month-end, ignoring ally Congress’s request for support to get a sole nominee elected from Bengal.

The announcement came on a day Jaya Bachchan made a smooth return to Uttar Pradesh politics, accepting the Samajwadi Party’s offer of a ticket after a two-year break.

But the actress-politician couldn’t file her nomination for the March 30 polls as some documents were not in order. She is scheduled to complete the formalities tomorrow.

In Calcutta, Trinamul secretary-general Partha Chatterjee announced the names of the four candidates, making it clear Mamata Banerjee was not willing to leave any space for the Congress.

Trinamul did not accept the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s request for a seat either.

The Trinamul leadership re-nominated central minister Mukul Roy. The other three are journalists Mohammad Nadimul Haque, Kunal Ghosh and Vivek Gupta.

Five nominees will be elected from Bengal. While the Left, with 61 MLAs, can send one MP to Parliament’s upper House, the 185-strong Trinamul can get three nominees elected and still have 38 votes to spare.

The 42-member Congress, which has the support of an Independent but needs six more votes to get its nominee elected, had asked for Trinamul’s support.

Trinamul sources said Mamata decided on fielding candidates in the four seats after the latest face-off over the proposed hike in train fares. “Last time we supported the Congress candidate. This time we expect they will accept our request,” Chatterjee said.

AICC Bengal in-charge Shakeel Ahmed said the Congress was “still considering” fielding a nominee. “The final decision will be taken tomorrow,” he said from Delhi after a meeting with Sonia Gandhi.