PM in Assam to file nominations for Rajya Sabha elections


Guwahati : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived here Tuesday on a two-day visit to file his nomination papers for biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha from his adopted home state of Assam.

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An Assam Legislative Assembly spokesman said the prime minister would file his nominations Wednesday from one of the two seats from Assam. Elections are scheduled for May 24.

Manmohan Singh is meeting local ruling Congress party leaders over dinner Tuesday.

"The prime minister would be filing his nomination in the first half of Wednesday at the assembly premises," Assam's Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bharat Chandra Narah told IANS.

Manmohan Singh is one of the two Rajya Sabha MPs from Assam whose term ends June 14. The second is Indramoni Bora from the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Manmohan Singh has served three terms as member of the Rajya Sabha from Assam since 1991 when he was union finance minister during the tenure of the late prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao.

"The Congress party has no plans to put up a candidate for the second seat. We want the prime minister to have an easy win as this a matter of pride for Assam to have him as our MP," Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said.

There is no consensus yet among the opposition in Assam for the second candidate.

Congress party leaders are toying with the idea of putting up a candidate at the last minute if the opposition fails to have a consensus choice.

Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil and senior Congress leader Motilal Vora also arrived here Tuesday as party observers for the elections. The Congress has 53 seats in the 126-member state legislature.

Besides, there are six associate members, 12 legislators of the Bodo People's Progressive Front and one from the Nationalist Congress Party (both supporting the Congress-led government in Assam).

The prime minister invariably refers to Assam as his 'adopted home state' during his visit to the state.

"The prime minister did a lot of community development works from his MP Local Area Development Fund and during his tenure we have got many big projects for the overall development of the state in particular and the northeast in general," a senior Congress leader said.