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PM to file papers today

Guwahati, May 8: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived here today and will file his nomination papers for re-election to the Rajya Sabha tomorrow. The Opposition parties on the other hand, are hoping to reach a consensus on the second seat only after the arrival of AUDF president Badruddin Ajmal.

Singh, whose current term in the Upper House ends on June 14, is on a two-day visit here and will file his nomination papers as a Congress candidate in the office of the Assembly secretary tomorrow morning. Parliamentary affairs minister Bharat Chandra Narah collected the papers on Singh’s behalf.

In a crucial meeting, attended by Congress legislators and MPs from the state, besides Union home minister Shivraj Patil and senior leaders Motilal Vora and Digvijay Singh, the party decided it would put up only one candidate for the two Rajya Sabha seats that fall vacant in June. “Since the Prime Minister is contesting, we are not taking any chances. We will put up only one candidate,” said a Congress legislator this evening.

While Singh’s victory is certain, the Opposition appeared to be in disarray over the second seat as no party has been able to take a decision on whether to field their own candidate or put up a common one.

A consensus among the Opposition parties is necessary as none of the parties are in the position to win the seat on their individual strength.A win requires the support of at least 43 members. The AGP has 24 seats while the BJP and the AUDF have 10 seats each. The Left parties have three seats.

Before leaving for Mumbai last week, Ajmal had said a decision on the Opposition candidate would be taken on his return. The AGP and BJP will have separate parleys with Ajmal.

The AGP has entrusted senior legislator Chandra Mohan Patowary to do the talking on behalf of the party while the BJP has nominated legislature party leader Mission Ranjan Das as the mediator.

Even as the Opposition continued to scout for a suitable candidate, three aspirants today plunged into the fray for the May 24 elections. One of the three, K. Padmarajan from Chennai, filed his nomination, while one Kheminder Kumar Manhotra of Jammu and local resident Tafiqul Hussain made their intentions clear by collecting nomination forms.

This is the 84th nomination paper filed by Padmarajan.The Union home minister, meanwhile, today reviewed the law and order situation in the state with chief minister Tarun Gogoi and top officials of state police and other paramilitary forces.

Patil was also apprised of the various steps taken by the state government to rescue abducted top FCI executive P.C. Ram from the clutches of his abductors.

who in the past has filed nominations ranging from presidential elections to local municipal elections. Ahead of his visit to the state on Saturday Manhotra sent his secretary Arjun Pandey to garner support for him. Pandey accompanied by former state legislator Abdul Rauf collected nomination papers on behalf of Manhotra from returning officer G.P. Das.

“A support of at least 10 legislators are required for filing nominations. If it is found during scrutiny that these contenders do not have the support of 10 members, their nominations will be rejected,” Das said.

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