Prime Minister Manmohan Singh filed his nomination papers in the Assam assembly on Wednesday afternoon for a fifth straight Rajya Sabha term from the state. His fourth term ends on June 14.
His visit was marked by a series of protests as members of students’ organisations and political parties showed black flag and staged sit-ins seeking reasons for his ‘step-motherly treatment’ to the state.
Singh has been representing Assam in the Upper House since 1991 after he became the Union finance minister. Former chief minister Hiteswar Saikia offered him a Rajya Sabha seat that had fallen vacant and even made Singh a tenant to justify his nomination.
“I have been representing Assam in the Rajya Sabha for the last 21 years, and I cannot be grateful enough to the people of the state. I shall endeavour to ensure all-round development for Assam,” he said after emerging from the assembly.
Singh is expected to win the seat comfortably with the Congress and its allies occupying 94 berths in the 126-member assembly. The Congress candidate, preferably one from the Adivasi community, is also likely to win the second seat as the combined strength of the opposition is 32.
The opposition has failed to come up with a consensus candidate with the pro-Muslim All India United Democratic Front (18 MLAs) differing ideologically with the Asom Gana Parishad (nine) and the BJP (five).
The last date of withdrawing nomination is May 20 and the elections, if necessary, will be on May 30.