Manmohan Singh files Rajya Sabha nomination papers from Rajasthan; Congress confident of sending him to RS

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today filed nomination papers for the bypolls to Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan on Tuesday. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, deputy CM and Rajasthan Congress president Sachin Pilot, AICC general secretary in-charge of Rajasthan Avinash Pande, state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal, chief whip Mahesh Joshi, state Health Minister Raghu Sharma were present during his nomination. In Rajya Sabha, Rajasthan has 10 seats and nine out of them are with the BJP. The solitary remaining seat got vacant after the demise of BJPs Madan Lal Saini in June. Singh is seeking a nomination from this vacant seat in the Council of States. Singh said he recognised the circumstances in which the vacancy was created and conveyed his condolence to Sainis family. I express gratefulness to the people of Rajasthan and the congress party for giving me this privilege for serving the people of Rajasthan in the council of states. I will do my very best to do whatever is possible to promote the cause of the people of Rajasthan, Singh, 86, was a Rajya Sabha member from Assam for almost three decades, including the time when he was the Prime Minister for two consecutive terms from 2004 to 2014. He was a Rajya Sabha member for five consecutive terms since 1991. His tenure in the upper house ended on June 14 and he could not be renominated as the Congress party did not have the strength to send him to the upper house from Assam again and there was no other vacancy left. Congress is confident of sending Singh to Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan as the party enjoys the majority in the state assembly and thus Singh is likely to win the bypoll. Rajasthan Assembly has 200 seats but two of them are vacant. The Congress party has 100 MLAs and its alliance partner Rashtriya Lok Dal has one seat. The ruling Congress also enjoys the outside support of 12 of the 13 independents and BSP legislators. On the other hand, the Bharatiya Janata Party has 72 seats, Bahujan Samaj Party 6, Bharatiya Tribal Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Rashtriya Loktantrik Party have 2 seats each, 13 are independents. According to the Election Commission, the last date for filing nomination papers is August 14. The scrutiny of papers will be done on August 16 while August 19 has been set as the last date for withdrawing nomination. If required, polling will be held on August 26 and the counting will be done on the same day at 5 pm.