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ESIC board poll: Congress alleges BJP and Trinamool are in a pact

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 10, 2019 Published on July 10, 2019

An otherwise routine election to the Governing Council of Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) among the members of the Rajya Sabha became controversial after the Congress and Left alleged a secret pact between the BJP and the Trinamool Congress.

TMC’s MP Dola Sen defeated Congress’ Pradeep Bhattacharya and CPI(M)’s Elamaram Kareem by a huge margin, where Rajya Sabha MPs were the voters. Sen got 90 of the 156 votes polled. Bhattacharya got 46 and Karim eight while 12 votes were invalid.

The TMC has 13 MPs in the Upper House, the Congress 48 and the Left parties seven.

Soon after the session, Bhattacharya was heard talking angrily to BJP members for voting for TMC’s candidate. Later, he told reporters that he spoke to the BJP leader and Minister Prakash Javadekar on how the BJP supported a party that is ‘butchering’ its members in Bengal.

“Last night when the TMC approached us to withdraw, (we) told them that no time left to withdraw. All the MPs had been contacted and it was too late to inform them otherwise. BJP supporters in Bengal should know how their central leadership acts in the Rajya Sabha — that they support TMC which kills their workers in Bengal,” he said.

Kareem felt there was an understanding between the TMC and the BJP. TMC’s chief whip in the House Sukhendu Shekhar Ray, rubbished the claims.

“As per convention in Parliament, elections are never held for these posts (ESIC nomination). Parties mutually decide. But this time an election was forced upon us. This seat was allotted to TMC for many years.

“It is ridiculous to allege that anyone joined hands for membership to a Rajya Sabha board. People are aware how Congress and CPI(M) joined hands with BJP to defeat our candidates in the Lok Sabha elections and to what extent CPI(M) and Congress votes shifted to BJP. The allegation by the defeated Congress candidate is ridiculous,” he said.

Published on July 10, 2019
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