Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra on Monday evening said nominated Rajya Sabha member Swapan Dasgupta should be disqualified from the Upper House under the Constitution’s 10th Schedule. Dasgupta has been given a Bharatiya Janata Party ticket for the upcoming West Bengal elections.

“Swapan Dasgupta is BJP candidate for WB [West Bengal] polls,” Moitra tweeted. “10th Schedule of Constitution says nominated RS member to be disqualified if he joins any political party AFTER expiry of 6 months from oath. He was sworn in April 2016, remains unallied. Must be disqualified NOW for joining BJP.”

A member nominated to the House by the President is allowed to join a political party if he/she does so within the first six months of taking seat in the House. “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,” reads paragraph 2 (3) of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution of India.

According to the Rajya Sabha website, Dasgupta was nominated by the president to the Upper House in 2016 and he is currently a nominated member not affiliated to any party. Moitra shared a screenshot and added that the TMC will submit a notice to the Rajya Sabha chairperson requesting him to disqualify Dasgupta.

On March 14, the BJP announced it was fielding Dasgupta from the Tarakeshwar seat. The former journalist is yet to file his nomination.

Till date, the BJP has announced 120 candidates for the first four phases of West Bengal elections.

Voting for the 294-seat West Bengal Assembly will be held in eight phases from March 27 to April 29. The results will be announced on May 2.

Ahead of the Assembly elections, the BJP and the TMC have been strongly campaigning against each other. The saffron party has repeatedly accused incumbent Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of corruption and not bringing development in the state. The TMC, on the other hand, has been casting the BJP as an “outsider” in the state and blaming it for indulging in the politics of division along communal lines.

Congress writes to RS chairperson, seeks clarification

The Congress has also sought clarification from Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, who is the chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, about Dasgupta contesting in West Bengal Assembly polls, reported the Hindustan Times on Tuesday.

In a letter to Naidu, Congress chief whip Jairam Ramesh pointed out that Dasgupta has neither resigned from the Upper House before contesting election nor has he joined any party. “Can a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha who has not formally joined a political party within six months of nomination and continues as a non-party, nominated member contest elections to Parliament or the Assembly without first resigning as a nominated member,” he asked.

Naidu did not announce any such resignation in these past few days, Ramesh said, adding that he does not need to say anything more.