After losing Nandigram to BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari in the State Assembly elections, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will contest from Bhabanipur assembly constituency. As she has become the CM without being a member of the legislative assembly, she needs to contest by-polls and become a member of the state legislative assembly within six months, in order to keep her position intact.
In such a situation, speculations are rife that Mamata Banerjee would go back to contesting the by-polls from her erstwhile seat of Bhabanipur, from where TMC leader Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay had won the election.
#BREAKING | West Bengal: Bhawanipore MLA to resign.— News18 (@CNNnews18) May 21, 2021
MLA Sovandeb Chattopadhyay is resigning so that Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal CM can contest from her original seat of Bhawanipore.@Sougata_Mukh shares details with @SiddiquiMaha pic.twitter.com/bBcQbBgRDq
It is important to remember here that Mamata Banerjee had abandoned her old constituency to fight BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari from Nandigram in the recently concluded Assembly elections. Suvendu Adhikari had won the battle by a thin margin, marking a dent in TMC’s otherwise sweeping victory in the West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021.
The Trinamool MLA who won from Bhawanipore, Shobhandeb Chattopadhyay, has already resigned from the Bengal assembly this afternoon to make way for his party boss to contest from the seat. West Bengal assembly speaker has reportedly accepted Chattopadhyay’s resignation.
ANI quoted WB Assembly Speaker Biman Bandopadhyay as saying: “I have enquired from him if he has resigned voluntarily and without coercion. I am satisfied, and I have accepted his resignation”.
West Bengal | TMC’s Sovandeb Chatterjee resigns as MLA from Bhawanipore— ANI (@ANI) May 21, 2021
“I have enquired from him if he has resigned voluntarily and without coercion. I am satisfied, and I have accepted his resignation,” says West Bengal Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee pic.twitter.com/qJtScYHUnO
Speaking to media before handing in his resignation to Assembly Speaker Biman Bandopadhyay, the TMC MLA said: “Mamata Banerjee will fight from Bhawanipore in the coming six months”. Reports say that Shobhandeb Chattopadhyay will continue as state Agriculture Minister for six months, during which time he will contest from another seat to return to the assembly.
According to PTI, Chattopadhyay is likely to contest from Khardah seat where the by-poll has been necessitated after the death of TMC leader Kajal Sinha. He had died three days after the polling in his constituency took place.
Earlier it was also speculated that Mamata Banerjee may retain her post by becoming a member of the proposed upper house or Legislative Council in the state. On Thursday, the state govt had approved the setting up of the Legislative Council or Vidhan Parishad in West Bengal. However, it will need the approval of the central government, and it may not materialise within 6 months even if it becomes reality. The state had a Legislative Council earlier, but it was abolished by 1969 by a coalition government of Left parties.
According to the rulebook, Banerjee will have to be elected within six months to continue holding the office of West Bengal CM. Article 164 of the constitution says a minister who is not an MLA within six months has to resign.