In what comes as a major blow to the opposition camp in the Rajya Sabha, a Trinamool Congress candidate on Wednesday defeated the Congress one to win an election for the Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), with the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other parties in the upper house of Parliament.
Trinamool Congress' Dola Sen secured 90 of the 156 votes polled, while Pradip Bhattacharya of the Congress polled 46 and Elamaram Kareem Karim of the CPI(M) eight. The current strength of the Trinamool Congress in the Rajya Sabha is 13 while that of the Congress is 48 and the CPI(M) five. The BJP, whereas, has 78 members in the house.
Meanwhile, Bhattacharya, following his defeat in the seat, alleged that the Trinamool Congress has taken help of the BJP, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) to defeat the Opposition candidate.
"TMC never communicated to us that it wants the seat. Then it reached out to BJP for votes," Bhattacharya told Hindustan Times, adding that "In West Bengal, 71 BJP workers have been killed by the TMC, yet the BJP supported TMC to keep Congress out".
The Trinamool Congress also gave it back, accusing the Congress of "forcing" an election for a seat that was "allotted to Trinamool for many years". The seat had been lying vacant following the retirement of Trinamool Congress leader Debabrata Bandyopadhyay.
Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, Trinamool's Rajya Sabha chief whip, also alleged that 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 added.