The two BJP leaders did not take oath as MLAs last week with other BJP and TMC MLAs, which triggered speculations that they might not resign from the Parliament. (Representative image)
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) strength in the West Bengal Assembly came down to 75 from the existing 77 as two of its Lok Sabha members who had won in the recently-concluded Assembly elections resigned as MLAs.
Cooch Behar MP Nisith Pramanik and Ranaghat MP Jagannath Sarkar won Assembly seats of Dinhata and Santipur, respectively, in the 2021 Bengal election. On May 12 they tendered their resignations as members of the West Bengal Assembly.
While Pramanik said that they are quitting as MLAs as per the directive of the BJP leadership, Sarkar said: "The BJP has risen from just three MLAs (in the 2016 elections) to 77 MLAs. To add experience in running the government, some MPs had been fielded."
Sarkar asserted that their fighting the assembly election despite being MPs and then resigning after winning do not reflect any organisational weakness of the BJP. Pramanik said that they cannot remain members of both the Lok Sabha and the state assembly simultaneously.
The two leaders had not taken oath as MLAs last week with other BJP and TMC MLAs, which triggered speculations that they might not resign from the Parliament. While Sarkar won the seat with a handsome lead of 15, 878 votes over his nearest rival from Trinamul Congress Ajoy De, Pramanik managed to win the seats with a wafer-thin margin of 57 votes defeating Udayan Guha.
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Now, by-elections would have to be held in their respective Assembly constituencies within six months.
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Meanwhile, TMC MP Derek O'Brien talked about quitting two BJP MLAs in a tweet in an apparent reference to Pramanik and Sarkar. “#BJP fielded 4 sitting LS MPs, incl a Union Min & 1 RS MP for #BengalPolls. 3 lost. 2 won. Now these 2 to quit as MLAa. They were elected last week! World’s largest (sic) party have set a world record for electoral egg on face.”
In the 2021 Bengal Assembly elections, the BJP had fielded four Lok Sabha MPs including Sarkar and Pramanik. The other two were Locket Chatterjee and Babul Supriyo. Both Chatterjee and Supriyo lost, and will, therefore, continue as MPs. A fifth nominee, Swapan Dasgupta who was a member of the Rajya Sabha, had resigned before filing his nomination from the Tarakeswar seat. Dasgupta lost the Assembly polls.