Kolkata, Jan 27:
Veteran Bollywood actor Mithun Chakraborty and four other candidates filed their nominations Monday for the Feb 7 Rajya Sabha elections from West Bengal.
With the Congress deciding to support sitting Independent member Ahmad Saeed Malihabadi, who is likely to be backed by the Left Front, the stage is set for a contest.
Chakraborty, who has been named candidate of the ruling Trinamool Congress, later said he would work for the people and the state.
“I have always worked for the people. I will continue to do so. I will highlight the interests of the state,” he said after formally joining the fray.
Three other Trinamool nominees – painter Jogen Chowdhury, Bengali daily Kalam’s editor Ahmed Hassan and K.D. Singh – also filed their papers for the polls which will elect five candidates from the state to the upper house of parliament.
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) affiliated Students Federation of India’s general secretary Ritabrata Banerjee entered the contest as a Left Front nominated candidate.
Meanwhile, the Congress has decided to support veteran journalist Malihabadi, a former editor of the Urdu newspaper Azad Hind, said state party president Pradip Bhattacharya.
“He will contest as an Independent. We will support him,” Bhattacahrya told IANS.
In the Rajya Sabha elections six years back, the Congress and the LF had backed Malihabadi.
LF chairman Biman Bose has already said that the combination would again lend support to an Independent candidate backed by the Congress.
The Trinamool has 187 members in the 294-seat state assembly. Besides, it claims the support of six other members.
As per the arithmetic in the house, three of the Trinamool candidates would sail through, with the golden number for winning fixed at 49.
The Left Front, which has 61 members, looks certain to get Ritabrata elected.
The contest will be for the fifth seat. The LF seems all set to transfer its 12 surplus first preference votes to Maliahabadi, who would be expecting the 39 votes of the Congress legislators.
However, the Trinamool is banking on a possible revolt in the Congress ranks, with its national general secretary Mukul Roy claiming that there would be a “magic” on Feb 7.
It is learnt that some of the Congress legislators are loathe to backing a candidate alongside the CPI-M-led Left Front.
The Rajya Sabha elections involve 55 seats in 16 states. While the notification was published Jan 21, the last date for filing nomination is Jan 28. The term of the sitting MPs ends April 2.