India Politics
PM pledges lifelong support to Assam
May 9, 2007 - 1:23:04 PM

Guwahati, May 9 - Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who filed nomination papers seeking re-election for a fourth straight term to the Rajya Sabha, Wednesday pledged his lifelong support to work for Assam's overall development.

'I am committed to work for the sustained and balanced development and a secure Assam. I have tried my best in the past and I would continue to do so in the future,' the prime minister told reporters here soon after filing his nomination papers at the Assam assembly premises here.

'I am indeed grateful to the people of Assam and all the legislators for giving me yet another opportunity to seek re-election to the Rajya Sabha,' he said.

Manmohan Singh submitted four sets of nomination papers, endorsed by 40 legislators from the Congress party and its ally, the Bodo People's Progressive Front -.

Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Congress leaders Motilal Vora and Digvijay Singh were present during the filing of nominations. Elections are scheduled for May 24.

The prime minister is one of the two MPs from Assam whose term ends June 14. The second Rajya Sabha MP from Assam is Indramoni Bora from the Bharatiya Janata Party -.

Manmohan Singh has served three terms as a member of the Rajya Sabha from Assam since 1991 when he was named finance minister by then prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao. He served a second term in 1995 and was re-elected again in 2001.

After filing his papers, the prime minister addressed a meeting of the Assam Congress Legislature Party.

'I will devote and dedicate myself to Assam's welfare and development for the rest of my life,' he said in an emotional speech.

He also visited his rented accommodation in Guwahati, a house in the city owned by late Assam chief minister Hiteswar Saikia, which is his residential address.

The prime minister pays a monthly rent of Rs.733 to Saikia's family and has been a tenant here since 1991.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said: 'This is indeed a very proud moment for all of us, with the prime minister once again choosing Assam to contest the biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha. The elections are a mere formality as we have the numbers to make him win.

'The Congress party has no plans to put up a candidate for the second seat. We want the prime minister to have an easy win as this is a matter of pride for Assam to have him as our MP,' Gogoi told IANS.

There is no consensus yet among the opposition in Assam for the second candidate.

There are talks that the BJP, the regional Asom Gana Parishad and the Asom United Democratic Front - have struck a deal although there are ideological differences - the AUDF is a pro-Muslim party.

The last date for filing of nominations is May 14.

The Congress has 53 seats in the 126-member state legislature. Besides, there are six associate members, 12 legislators of the Bodo People's Progressive Front and one from the Nationalist Congress Party -.

The prime minister invariably refers to Assam as his 'adopted home state' during his many visits here.

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