×
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

BJP, TMC's bid to woo north Bengal voters with RS tickets

BJP’s decision to send Maharaj to the upper house seems to have been prompted by Mamata Banerjee’s concerted efforts to make inroads in the region.
Last Updated : 13 July 2023, 02:34 IST

Follow Us :

Comments

Taking a hard-nosed political decision ahead of the next year’s Lok Sabha polls, BJP has given its lone Rajya Sabha nomination from West Bengal to Anant Rai Maharaj, the chief of Greater Cooch Behar People’s Association, an organization that has championed the cause of separate statehood for Greater Cooch Behar comprising of some districts of north-Bengal and lower Assam.

Maharaj would be the first MP to represent BJP in the Rajya Sabha and his choice over high-profile contenders like cricketer Saurav Ganguly, actor Mithun Chakravarty and former minister Dinesh Trivedi seem to have been driven by electoral considerations in areas BJP has dominated in the last assembly and Lok Sabha polls.

Maharaj who claims descendance from the erstwhile princely estate of Cooch Behar belongs to the numerically dominant and influential Rajbanshi community- which comes under the scheduled tribe. The population of the community in three north Bengal districts Cooch Behar, Dinajpur, and Jalpaiguri is over 30 percent.

BJP has also sought to give adequate representation to North Bengal in the Modi government. Alipurduar MP John Barla is currently serving as Minister for State for Minority Affairs in the union government, while Cooch Behar MP Nishith Pramanik is a junior minister of Home under Amit Shah.

BJP’s decision to send Maharaj to the upper house seems to have been prompted by Mamata Banerjee’s concerted efforts to make inroads in the region.

Earlier this week, Trinamool Congress also surprised political observers by naming Alipurduar district president Prakash Chik Baraik in its list of 6 Rajya Sabha nominations.

Baraik who used to work in tea gardens has risen up the ranks in the TMC and was elected in the local body elections in 2018. Two years later, the party made him the district president of Aliduarpur.

In the 2021 assembly elections in West Bengal, TMC could not win a single seat in three north-Bengal districts of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, and Aluduarpur despite performing extremely well in other parts of the state.

ADVERTISEMENT
Published 13 July 2023, 01:18 IST

Follow us on :

Follow Us

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT