Guwahati: The Congress is not likely to nominate former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as its nominee for Rajya Sabha from Assam as the party doesn’t have requisite strength in the state Assembly to win the seat this time. Dr Singh has been representing Assam since 1991 without a break and his current term lapses on June 14.
The ruling coalition, on the other hand, has the sufficient number to wrest not just Dr Singh’s seat, but also the second seat from the Congress.
The six-year term of two Congress Rajya Sabha members from Assam — Manmohan Singh and Santiuse Kujur — expires in mid-June and elections need to be completed before that.
A party needs 43 votes to win a Rajya Sabha seat and 86 votes for two seats.
The BJP-led ruling coalition has 88 seats — 61 of the BJP, 14 of the AGP and 12 of the BPF, besides Independent MLA Bhuban Pegu. On the other hand, the Congress has 25 seats and the AIUDF has 13 legislators.
Amidst the ongoing Lok Sabha polls, lobbying has started in the ruling coalition for the two Rajya Sabha seats.
Indicating that one seat may go to AGP, sources said the BJP’s central leadership would be applying its mind to the selection of candidate for the second seat only after the notification of the poll dates.
Just before the Lok Sabha polls, when the AGP reverted to the BJP-led coalition, the BJP had assured it that in one of the two Rajya Sabha seats falling vacant in June it could field its candidate.
Insiders in the Congress told this newspaper that the party has decided not to field Dr Singh from the Rajya Sabha seat as his defeat is almost certain in the absence of the requisite strength in the state Assembly.
Dr Singh was first elected to Rajya Sabha from Assam in 1991. He was then re-elected in 1995, 2001 and 2007.
Moreover, Assam witnessed high-voltage election campaigns in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls with frequent visits by the Prime Minister and other senior leaders of both the BJP and Congress, but Dr Singh, who has represented the state in Rajya Sabha since 1991, was not called to address even a single public meeting in Assam....