Manmohan Singh re-elected to Rajya Sabha for fourth term

Guwahati, May 17 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been elected to the Rajya Sabha from Assam unopposed for the fourth straight term with the lone independent candidate Matang Singh withdrawing his candidature Thursday.

There were two seats for the upper house of parliament from Assam for which elections were scheduled for May 24. The prime minister apart, Kumar Dipak Das from the opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Matang Singh, a former minister in the P.V. Narashima Rao government, had filed their nominations for the two seats.

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“Today was the last date for withdrawal of nominations and Matang Singh took back his candidature. So technically speaking both the prime minister and the AGP candidate were elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha,” an official of the Assam assembly told IANS.

A formal announcement of the results would be made after completion of formalities.

Matang Singh was backed by the Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF), a Muslim-based party.

“I have withdrawn by candidature in respect of the prime minister. Otherwise my victory was almost certain,” the independent candidate said.

In 1991 when Manmohan Singh was finance minister, late chief minister Hiteshwar Saikia had offered him a Rajya Sabha seat from the state to contest. He was elected again in 1995 and was re-elected in 2001.

Manmohan Singh is one of the two MPs from Assam in the Rajya Sabha whose term ends June 14.

After filing his nominations last week in Guwahati, the prime minister pledged his lifelong support to work for Assam’s overall development and security.

“I am committed to work for sustained and balanced development and a secured Assam. I have tried by best in the past and I would continue to do so in the future,” he said.

Both the Congress and the AGP were jubilant after it became clear that the two candidates have won unopposed.