Jaipur, August 13
Former PM and veteran Congress leader Dr Manmohan Singh today filed his nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha bypoll for a vacant seat in Rajasthan, while the Opposition BJP decided to leave to its high command the decision to finalise a suitable candidate.
Accompanied by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, Singh filed his papers at the election office in the state Assembly building.
He mourned BJP leader Madan Lal Saini’s death on June 24, which has led to the vacancy in the Upper House.
Three sets of nomination papers were proposed by a group of Congress MLAs, including the CM, and the Deputy CM, Returning Officer PK Mathur said.
Meanwhile, with just 72 MLAs in the state Assembly, BJP’s three-member committee chaired by Leader of Opposition GC Kataria left the candidate’s selection for August 26 RS bypoll to the party high command in Delhi, its state media coordinator Vimal Katiyar told The Tribune.
Rajasthan Assembly has 200 seats but two seats are vacant. Congress has 100 MLAs and its alliance partner Rashtriya Lok Dal has one seat, BJP has 72, BSP six, Bharatiya Tribal Party, CPM and Rashtriya Loktantrik Party have two seats each, 13 are Independents.
The BSP today announced to support the Congress candidate. State party incharge Devilal Mahlana said the decision was taken on the directions of BSP chief Mayawati. A few BSP MLAs were present when Singh filed his nomination papers.
So far, the Election Commission has received only one nomination paper — that of Singh. The last date of filing the papers is August 14. Withdrawal is allowed till August 16 and scrutiny of papers will be done on August 19. If required, the voting will be held on August 26.
Singh has been a member of the Upper House from Assam for almost three decades. While he was an RS MP for five consecutive terms (1991-2019), he served as the PM for two consecutive terms (2004-2014).
The Congress has sufficient MLAs (101, including one of the RLD), direct support of BSP’s six and 12 of Independents who had joined the Congress earlier this year. Expressing his gratitude for his nomination to the Rajya Sabha seat, Singh said he would do his best to promote the cause of the people of the state.