Congress in dilemma to find a seat for Manmohan Singh!

New Delhi: The Congress is in a bind to get re-elected former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (86) to the Rajya Sabha after he completes his fifth term from Assam on June 14 next year. With the Congress having only 26 seats in the 126-member Assam Assembly, it cannot get him re-elected. During 2019, only eight Rajya Sabha seats are falling vacant, two in Assam in June and another six in Tamil Nadu in July. Only option for the Congress to continue Dr Singh in the Rajya Sabha without a break is to get a seat vacated. Maybe, such a person gets gets the Lok Sabha seat and gets elected to let his seat go to the former PM.

An earliest chance otherwise for Dr Singh to get back in the Rajya Sabha is in February 2020, after a gap of eight months, as a nominated member when senior advocate KTS Tulsi completes his term on February 24, 2020. Any prospects of Dr Singh getting a berth from Tamil Nadu are blank as Congress ally DMK would like to get its supremo M Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi re-elected. Others retiring are CPI’s D Raja and four members of the AIADMK, including Dr V Maitreyan.

Not sure of getting re-elected to the Lok Sabha next May, Union Food and Consumer Protection Minister Ramvilas Paswan (72) has an eye on getting elected to the Rajya Sabha from Assam in June where Dr Singh and another Congress member Santiuse Kujur are retiring. In the deal struck with BJP President Amit Shah on Sunday, he insisted on one Rajya Sabha seat to his Lok Jantantrik Party (LJP) besides six Lok Sabha seats that it had won in 2014.

In 2020, a total of 72 elected seats will fall vacant, the highest 55 of them in April that include seven from Maharashtra, two from Chhattisgarh and three each from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Those retiring in Madhya Pradesh are former Congress chief minister Digvijay Singh and two BJP members while those completing term in Rajasthan are MoS for Parliamentary affairs Vijay Goel and two other BJP members — Narayanlal Pancharia and Ramnarain Dudi. Those retiring from Chhattisgarh are Congress general secretary Motilal Vora (90) and BJP’s Ramvijay Singh Judeo.

Five seats fall vacant in June 2020, four of them from Karnataka and one from Arunachal Pradesh, one in July from Mizoram and 11 from Uttar Pradesh in November. In 2021, only eight Rajya Sabha seats fall vacant, four of them in February from Jammu and Kashmir, three from Kerala and one from Puducherry.

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