Ex-PM Manmohan Singh may head back to Rajya Sabha, this time from Rajasthan
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has emerged as the consensus choice for the Rajya Sabha seat from Rajasthan and could be back in the House later this month, said a senior Congress functionary familiar with the development.
“There is consensus in the party that he should be fielded for the only Rajya Sabha seat that the party would win,” the functionary said after the Election Commission announced by-elections on two Rajya Sabha seats on August 26.
One seat from Rajasthan fell vacant due to the death of BJP’s Madan Lal Saini in June. The election on the second seat from Uttar Pradesh was necessitated due to Samajwadi Party lawmaker Neeraj Shekhar’s switch. He quit his Rajya Sabha seat in mid-July before dumping the SP for the BJP.
A BJP leader said Neeraj Shekhar’s crossing over was conditioned on his new party promising that he would be the BJP candidate to fill the vacancy created due to his exit ahead of his term. He will be elected for the remainder of the seat’s term that ends in November 2020.
Manmohan Singh would have a longer tenure. Madan Lal Saini’s term was to end only in April 2024.
The Congress had been on the look-out for a seat for the former PM, also an accomplished economist, for some time. Dr Singh’s long stint in the Rajya Sabha had started in 1991 when he was elected from Assam, soon after then prime minister PV Narasimha Rao inducted him to his cabinet to steer the economy. Manmohan Singh’s association with the Rajya Sabha continued for four more terms, two of them as the country’s prime minister.
When his term ended in June, the Congress didn’t field any candidates because of its depleted strength in the Assam assembly after the state elections in 2016. The Congress had only 25 legislators in the 126-member assembly.