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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

PM Manmohan Singh's renomination to RS ~ nervy Cong issues whip

Dr. Manmohan Singh is close to 81 the 13th and current Prime Minister of India has weathered many a storms. A renowned economist, he is the only Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to return to power after completing a full five-year term, and the first Sikh to hold the office. He was born in Gah (now in Punjab, Pakistan), Singh's family migrated to India during its partition in 1947.; studied at Oxford, held several key positions…. Now represents Assam ….   Now he is on a visit to Japan to strengthen bilateral strategic ties.

The upper house of Parliament of India is the ‘Rajya Sabha’.   It has 250 members, 12 of whom are nominated by the President of India for their contributions to art, literature, science, and social services. The remainder of the body is elected by the state and territorial legislatures. Members sit for six-year terms, with one third of the members retiring every two years. The Rajya Sabha meets in continuous sessions and, unlike the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, is not subject to dissolution.  The election to Rajya Sabha is by the members of  Legislative Assembly of States and Union territories by means of Single transferable vote through Proportional representation.

Dr Singh is seeking re-nomination from Assam and the principal opposition, the BJP on Friday said it would abstain from the Rajya Sabha polls citing that it opposed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's re-nomination from Assam. BJP state president Sarbananda Sonowal said though Singh represented Assam in the Rajya Sabha in the last four terms, he failed to address the burning problems of influx from Bangladesh and fencing the border with the neighbouring country.

Firstpost reports that a nervous Congress has issued whip to protect the PM. Apprehensive of last minute trouble from dissidents in Assam Congress, the party leadership has issued a terse, three-line whip making it mandatory for all legislators to vote for the Congress candidates in the Rajya Sabha polls on Thursday. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is one of the candidates. After a three-line whip is issued, the voters have to compulsorily show their ballot papers to a polling agent, failing which they might be thrown out of the party.

An Adivasi leader from the Christian community, Santiuse Kujur, is the other Congress nominee for the second seat. The whip assumes importance considering Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s warning to the dissidents on Monday to respect the party position and stay within the ‘Laxman Rekha’.  Following Gogoi’s diktat, the dissidents today met All India Congress Committee secretary Pervez Hashmi and discussed the emerging situation. After meeting the dissident MLAs, Hashmi made an effort to put up a united front within the state Congress unit. “It was just a courtesy call. There is no trouble in the party. We are all united,” he said.

Trouble began for the Congress when Gogoi announced Kujur’s candidature for the second Rajya Sabha seat. A newcomer to the party, Kujur had unsuccessfully contested from Panery constituency as a Congress candidate in the Assam Assembly polls in April 2011.
Amguri MLA Anjan Dutta recently expressed his displeasure over Kujur’s candidature saying the latter did not represent all sections of the society and the decision to make him the party candidate was taken by the chief minister unilaterally. The lawmaker had claimed that he had the support of 25 other Congress MLAs supporting his view.

The tension in the Congress circles is apparent with Badruddin Ajmal’s All India United Democratic Party (AIUDF) also fielding party general secretary Aminul Islam for the second seat. However, Ajmal had earlier assured that his party, which is the main opposition party in the state Assembly, would vote for the prime minister.
Singh in all likelihood will not face a problem as all dissidents in the party have agreed in principle to vote for the prime minister.  However, Kujur’s fate hangs in balance if the dissidents decide to ignore the party whip. In any case, the Congress top leadership is not willing to take a risk and hence the whip.

The Congress has 79 legislators in the 126-strong Assam Assembly, while AIAUDF has 18 seats. Dissidence against the chief minister has gathered momentum since March and there have been demands for his removal. The nomination of Kujur only allowed a second group of dissidents to come to the fore. BJP has 5 members and has announced that its members will not vote. Assam has two Rajya Sabha seats. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th May 2013
PS: majorly reproduced from


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