Former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s return to the Rajya Sabha as a member from Assam is unlikely as the Congress party does not have the requisite strength in the state assembly to send him to the Upper House of the parliament again, reports The Hindu.
Singh’s tenure as the member of the Rajya Sabha from Assam is coming to an end on 14 June after which he will have to seek a re-election for the seat.
The Election Commission has announced 7 June as the day of election for the Rajya Sabha seat, while the last date of nomination is 28 May.
According to the report, Congress lacks the number in the Assam assembly to secure a win for the former PM, and therefore would not like to take a risk. Congress only has 25 MLAs in the 126-member Assam Assembly while it needs at least 43 first-preference votes for bagging the seat. Even if the party gets the support of 13 MLAs of the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), it falls short of five MLAs.
“We don’t have the numbers on our own and it is not advisable to field a leader of such senior stature when our numbers are not certain,” Debabrata Saikia, leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) in the Assam Assembly, was quoted in the report as saying.
The Congress party cannot send Singh to Rajya Sabha from Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan despite having numbers from there are no immediate vacancies in these states.
However, the party has an option to send the former PM to the Upper House via Tamil Nadu where there would be vacancies in July as six members are retiring on 24 July.
If Singh is not fielded in July then the next lot of vacancies will come up only in April 2020 when 55 members will retire from several states, including the Congress-ruled Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.