PM to file Rajya Sabha nomination from Assam


Guwahati : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is all set to file his nomination papers Wednesday seeking re-election for the fourth straight term to the Rajya Sabha from his adopted home state of Assam.

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"This is indeed a very proud moment for all of us with the prime minister once again choosing Assam to contest the biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha. The elections are a mere formality as we have the numbers to make him win," Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told IANS.

Legislators of the ruling Congress party in a meeting unanimously accepted Manmohan Singh's candidature for the Rajya Sabha – the upper house in parliament – seat.

The prime minister, who arrived in Guwahati Tuesday, will file his nomination at the Assam Assembly premises. Elections are scheduled for May 24.

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

Manmohan Singh has served three terms as a member of the Rajya Sabha from Assam since 1991 when he was finance minister during the tenure of the late prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao. He served his second term in 1995 and was re-elected again in 2001.

"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," Gogoi said.

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

There are talks that the opposition BJP, the regional Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), and the Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF) have struck a deal although there are ideological differences – the AUDF is a pro-Muslim party. The last date for filing of nominations is May 14.

Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, senior Congress leaders Motilal Vora and Digvijay Singh are also in the city 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 many visits to the state.