In a major career jump, former Congress MP Sushmita Dev from Assam, who had joined Trinamool Congress recently, has been nominated for ensuing Rajya Sabha bypolls by the party from West Bengal where it has a majority in the Assembly.
Taking to Twitter to announce Sushmita Dev’s nomination, the Trinamool Congress said “Mamata Banerjee‘s vision to empower women and ensure their maximum participation in politics shall help our society to achieve much more.”
Reacting to the news of her nomination to Rajya Sabha, Sushmita Dev thanked West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee as she took to Twitter to say the party supremo’s “conviction to see more women in parliament is exemplary.”
She called her nomination a “strong message to the northeast.”
“By giving someone from northeast an RS seat where West Bengal MLAs will be voting, means she (Mamata) has serious plans for the northeast. I am a Bengali from Assam… I assure that I will not let her down,” Dev told media on Tuesday.
The bypoll, which would be held on October 4, was necessitated after Trinamool Congress leader Manas Bhunia vacated the Rajya Sabha seat after winning the assembly polls from Sabang in West Midnapore district. The Trinamool Congress controls 12 of 16 Rajya Sabha seats, while Congress has two and CPI(M) one.
Soon after shifting camp to TMC last August, Dev was entrusted with the charge of looking after the party’s functioning in Assam and Tripura, the two northeast states with sizeable Bengali population, where, emboldened by the recent victory in West Bengal, the party is making inwards.
Sushmita, who was considered to be the Congress’s face in Barak Valley, the three Bengali majority districts in southern Assam, was a third-generation Congress leader after her grandfather Satindra Mohan Dev, a freedom fighter and told to be close with Jawaharlal Nehru and her father Santosh Mohan Dev, a seven time Congress parliamentarian from Silchar who was an MP during Indira Gandhi’s term, an Union Minister of state during Rajiv Gandhi’s term and then an union minister during Manmohan Singh’s term.
Dev had led the Congress in Barak Valley in the Assam Assembly elections last March-April. However, on August 16 this year, she submitted her resignation to interim President of Congress Sonia Gandhi saying she cherished her three decades-long association with the party and now she embarked on a “new chapter” of public service.
All of 48-years, Susmita, despite belonging to a politically affluent family began her career by contesting in Silchar Municipal Corporation in 2009.
She won the post, and then, contested the 2011 Assam Assembly elections from which, she contested the 2014 General elections.
Despite the BJP blitzkrieg in 2014 that uprooted Congress from Centre, Dev managed to hold Silchar constituency that she later lost in 2019 general elections to BJP’s Rajdeep Roy. She was the president of All India Mahila Congress since 2017 till her resignation.
To be selected as a Rajya Sabha Member will be a major leap in Dev’s career which is very likely in West Bengal where TMC occupies 213 of the 292 Assembly constituencies.