- Mamata Banerjee sends clear hint to Congress for possible tie-up
- Move being seen as attempt to forge alliance to counter BJP
- Amit Shah says BJP's next targets are Bengal, Odisha and Kerala
The move by Ms Banerjee came as a surprise and is being seen as an attempt to forge an alliance to counter the BJP - both nationally and in the state. The Congress has not yet announced Mr Singhvi as its candidate and only last year it fought the state polls against Ms Banerjee's party in partnership with the Left.
Five Rajya Sabha seats from West Bengal are going to polls after terms of four lawmakers ran out and Mukul Roy resigned from the house and joined the BJP. Four seats will go to the Trinamool Congress because of its strength in state assembly and the fifth seat, which was held by CPM, will go to one of the state's opposition parties.
The move is also seen as crucial to counter a potential CPM-Congress combine ahead of panchayat and civic body polls in the state. Earlier, there were talks of CPM putting up an independent candidate and Congress supporting it. Unwilling to give a walkover, the CPM tonight announced Rabin Deb as its candidate for the fifth seat of Rajya Sabha.
Yesterday, CPM's state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra had called "anyone who is ready to counter the attacks and atrocities of the BJP and the Trinamool Congress" to join hands ahead of the polls in the state. To a question on whether the Congress can be a part of the anti-BJP-Trinamool platform, he said: "It can be anyone."
After a stunning victory in Tripura, BJP chief Amit Shah declared that the party's next targets would be Bengal, Odisha and Kerala. The state also saw a surge in the vote share of the BJP with the party taking the number two spot in the recently held Lok Sabha bypolls of Uluberia and assembly polls of Noapara.
The other candidates announced by Trinamool are - Nadimul Haque, who was renominated, Subhasish Chakraborty, Abir Biswas and Santunu Sen.
Elections for the five Rajya Sabha seats in Bengal would be held on March 23.