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Agartala: The ruling BJP in Tripura and the opposition CPI(M) on Friday announced names of candidates for the upcoming Rajya Sabha election to the state’s lone seat in the Upper House of Parliament.

While the saffron party nominated its state president Dr Manik Saha as the contestant, the Left Front fielded senior CPI(M) leader and former Tripura finance minister Bhanu Lal Saha as the candidate.

Bhanu Lal Saha, aged 75, is now a party MLA from Bishalgarh seat in Sepahijala district.

CPI(M) state secretary Jitendra Chowdhury said the party nominated him considering his contribution to the democratic movement.

The Central leadership today cleared the name of Dr Manik Saha who is the party’s state president as Rajya Sabha nominee, said BJP chief spokesperson Subrata Chakraborty.

Mainak Saha, who quit the Congress and joined the BJP in 2016, was made the party’s state president in 2020. He had replaced Biplab Kumar Deb who had led the saffron party to a phenomenal victory in the 2018 Assembly elections ending a 25-year-old Communist rule.

The Rajya Sabha poll will be held on March 31, and votes will be counted on the same day.

The tenure of incumbent Rajya Sabha MP from Tripura, Jharna Das Baidya, will expire on April 2.

The last date for filing nominations for the upcoming election is March 21, while scrutiny of papers will take place the next day.

The last date for withdrawal of nominations is March 24, according to a notification issued by the Election Commission of India.

MLAs in the 60-member Tripura assembly will participate in the Rajya Sabha elections as members of the Upper House of Parliament are elected by legislators in state assemblies. It is an election through proportional representation.

The Left Front currently has 15 MLAs in the Tripura assembly, while the ruling BJP has a strength of 33 and its ally IPFT has eight.

BJP legislators Sudip Roy Barman and Asish Saha resigned from the assembly and gave up the membership of the party in February. They later joined the Congress.

Tripura Speaker Ratan Chakraborty in January disqualified BJP MLA Ashish Das who has joined the Trinamool Congress, while CPI(M) legislator Ramendra Chandra Debnath died recently.

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