Swapan Dasgupta bats for the BJP across all mediums, which is why a grateful party gave him a coveted nomination to the Rajya Sabha under what is called the “distinguished category” comprising those who have excelled in the arts and literature.
While Dasgupta’s literary excellence remains a mystery, he has now spent four years in the Rajya Sabha and is the most virulent voice against Mamata Banerjee and the Trinamool Congress with the Bengal elections scheduled for next year.
Yet, Dasgupta has not changed his affiliation to the BJP in the Rajya Sabha. The rule says that nominated members can change their nominations to an affiliate party within six months of taking oath.
Dola Sen, two time Trinamool Congress member, says: “We in the TMC don’t take Dasgupta seriously. After all, if he can’t change his loyalty to the BJP in the Rajya Sabha, why should we listen to his vicious attacks on Bengal? Does Amit Shah know that Dasgupta does not care enough about the BJP to formalise his Rajya Sabha seat?”
Sen has a point. Nine BJP nominated members of the Rajya Sabha have changed their affiliations to BJP within the six-month deadline. They include: Subramanium Swamy, Rupa Ganguly, Rakesh Sinha, Sonal Mansingh and Raghunath Mohapatra.
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The only three who have not switched affiliation to the BJP are Dasgupta, former Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, who was recently nominated when he retired by the Modi government and champion boxer Mary Kom.
Senior leaders say that it is quite unprecedented for a member of the house who behaves like a member of a political party yet does not change his official affiliation.
Says a senior TMC leader: “May be Swapan knows something the BJP doesn’t.”
He adds: “If Gogoi was to change his affiliation it would be headlines, but surely Dasgupta, who dreams of being BJP Chief Minister of West Bengal should change.”