Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday filed his nomination papers in the Assembly in Assam seeking re-election for a fourth successive term to the Rajya Sabha. The election is slated for May 24.
Singh is one of the two Rajya Sabha members from Assam whose term ends on June 14. The other Elder is the BJP's Indramoni Bora, who is not seeking a re-election.
"I am grateful to the people of Assam and all the legislators for giving me yet another opportunity to seek re-election to the Rajya Sabha," the Prime Minister said after submitting four sets of nomination papers to Assam Assembly secretary GP Das at 11.15 am. The papers were endorsed by 40 legislators belonging to the Congress and its ally Bodoland People's Progressive Front.
"I am committed to work for sustainable, balanced and equitable development of Assam. I have tried my best in the past and I would continue to do so in the future," Singh said in the Assembly premises before leaving for New Delhi.
Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Congress leaders Motilal Vora and Digvijay Singh were present during the filing of nominations. So was Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who said the PM's election was a mere formality. "This is a proud moment for us," he added.
Singh, notably, has served three terms as a Rajya Sabha member from Assam since 1991 when he was finance minister during the tenure of the late prime minister PV Narasimha Rao. He was re-elected in 1995 and again in 2001.
Meanwhile, the AGP and BJP ridiculed the Congress for "lacking the courage" to send the PM from one of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Assam. "They (Congress) could have vacated one seat to accommodate the PM," said senior AGP leader Dilip Kumar Saikia.
The two parties, though, are more concerned about the outcome of a crucial meeting of the pro-Muslim Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF). The Opposition can hope to nominate a candidate for the second seat.
The AGP has 24 MLAs to the BJP and AUDF's 10 each while the Left parties have three and Prafulla Kumar Mahanta's AGP (Pragatisheel) one. The AUDF and BJP have ideological differences, but they are reportedly not averse to supporting a candidate put up by the AGP.