Swapan Dasgupta, a BJP candidate for the West Bengal state assembly, resigned as Member of Parliament from the Rajya Sabha. This comes just a day after Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra raised objections and pointed out that his candidature by the BJP violated the rules of Rajya Sabha and appointment as a nominated member of the house.
As a nominated member, he was officially unaffiliated to any party as can be verified on the members portal of the Rajya Sabha mentioned below.
Earlier on March 14, Dasgupta had tweeted that he was going to contest from Tarakeshwar on a BJP ticket.
However, after this announcement, Mahua Moitra, Member of Parliament from the TMC - the incumbent party in West Bengal - in a series of tweets, called for Dasgupta's resignation from the Rajya Sabha. Moitra claimed that Dasgupta by joining the party had violated the anti-defection law.
Through her Twitter feed, it was evident that the TMC was in the process of reaching out the the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, to ask for Dasgupta's disqualification.
However, speaking to NDTV, Dasgupta denied that his resignation was in response to Moitra's charge against him. "I am not responding to anything. I am just saying that there are a lot of outstanding issues, a lot of clearances which we have to get from various institutions including parliament before you file your nomination. And all these will be secured before I file my nomination," Dasgupta said.
What does the anti-defection law state?
The anti-defection law is the 10th Schedule of Constitution and governs the relationship between how parties, its members and their membership of houses of legislature with respect to how they vote, and defection.
On members being nominated to any House of Parliament or State Legislature, the anti-defection law states that nominated members will be disqualified from their office as member of a House of Parliament/State Legislature should that member join a political party after six months of taking office.
A nominated member of a House shall be disqualified for being a member of the House if he joins any political party after the expiry of six months from the date on which he takes his seat after complying with the requirements of article 99 or, as the case may be, article 188.
The President of India has the power to nominate 12 members to Rajya Sabha, a distinction usually given to technocrats, eminent personalities or achievers in various fields. The President can also nominate two members of the Anglo-Indian community to Lok Sabha should he or she feel the community has not been adequately represented.
Dasgupta was nominated to Rajya Sabha in April 2016 by the then President Pranab Mukherjee.
West Bengal is scheduled to have elections from March 27 through April 29 in eight phases, with the counting scheduled on May 2.