Jaipur: Former prime minister Manmohan Singh filed nomination papers for the bypoll to Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan on Tuesday. Singh filed four sets of nomination papers in the chamber of returning officer in Rajasthan Assembly.
He expressed gratitude to the Congress party for nominating him and expressed condolence for BJP’s Madan Lal Saini, following whose death the seat got vacant in June. Singh said that he will do whatever is possible to promote the cause of the people of the state.
“I am very grateful to the Congress party and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and all members of the Congress party for nominating me to this vacant seat in the council of states,” he told reporters after filing the nomination. Saying that he recognised there were circumstances in which the vacancy was created, he conveyed his condolence to Saini’s family. “I express gratefulness to the people of Rajasthan and the congress party for giving me this privilege for serving the people of Rajasthan in the council of states. I will do my very best to do whatever is possible to promote the cause of the people of Rajasthan, he added.
Singh, 86, was accompanied by Gehlot, Pilot, AICC general secretary in-charge of Rajasthan Avinash Pande, state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal, chief whip Mahesh Joshi, state Health Minister Raghu Sharma at the time of the nomination.
The Congress has the majority in the state assembly and Singh, thus, is likely to win the bypoll. Rajasthan Assembly has 200 seats but two seats are vacant. Congress has 100 MLAs and its alliance partner Rastriya Lok Dal has one seat, Bharatiya Janata Party has 72, Bahujan Samaj Party 6, Bharatiya Tribal Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Rashtriya Loktantrik Party have 2 seats each, 13 are independents.
The ruling Congress in the state also enjoys the outside support of 12 of the 13 independents and BSP legislators. Singh, the Veteran Congress leader, was a member of the upper house from Assam for almost three decades. He was a Rajya Sabha member for five consecutive terms from 1991 to 2019 and the country’s prime minister for two consecutive terms from 2004 to 2014.
His tenure in Rajya Sabha ended on June 14 this year and he could not be renominated as the Congress party did not have the strength to send him to the upper house from Assam again and there was no other vacancy left. Rajasthan has 10 Rajya Sabha seats and one got vacant after the demise of BJP’s Madan Lal Saini in June.
Remaining nine seats of Rajya Sabha from the state are with BJP. As per the schedule issued by the election commission, the last date for filing nomination papers is August 14. Scrutiny of papers will be done on August 16; last date for withdrawing nomination is August 19. If required, polling will be held on August 26 and the counting will be done on the same day at 5 pm.