Dr Manmohan Singh’s 28-Year Assam Bond Ends

By Adnan Ashraf

Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s 28-year association with Assam will end on June 14 next. He was associated with Assam as the State’s representative at Rajya Sabha since May 30, 1991 and as his tenure comes to an end, the bond that he shared with the State will also eventually meet its final destination.

Singh was offered to represent Assam at the Rajya Sabha by the then Assam CM Hiteswar Saikia. After the election, Dr Singh was appointed as the Union Finance Minister.

1991 Budget The Hindu
Former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao with then Finance Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, 1991,
Courtesy: The Hindu

He was re-elected to Rajya Sabha in 1995, 2001, 2007 and 2013 from Assam. Notably, Dr Singh lost the only Lok Sabha election that he contested from South Delhi constituency in 1999.

The President Dr. A.P. J. Abdul Kalam administering the oath of office of the Prime Minister to Dr. Manmohan Singh at a Swearing-in Ceremony in New Delhi on May 22, 2004 (Saturday).

It may be mentioned here that there was a controversy regarding Dr Singh’s election to the Upper House from Assam in 1991. Back then, it was mandatory for a person to be an ordinary resident of the State, from where he or she opted to contest for the Rajya Sabha. The then Assam CM late Hiteswar Saikia, a close aide of Dr Singh, made the economist a tenant at his wife’s house located in Guwahati. Thereby, producing a house rent receipt from Saikia’s wife Hemoprabha Saikia, Dr Singh became a Rajya Sabha MP.

PM Manmohan Singh being honoured by Assam CM Tarun Gogoi during the foundation stone laying ceremony of Guwahati Water Supply Project in Guwahati on February 18, 2011.
Courtesy: PTI

The former PM and his wife are voter in Dispur Assembly constituency. Dr Singh’s name is listed under serial number 623 in the electoral roll of No. 52 Dispur legislative assembly constituency and his wife’s name is listed under serial no 624. Recently they visited Guwahati to cast their votes in the Lok Sabha election.

However, there has been allegation that the former PM did very little for the development of Assam even after he represented the State for such a long period.

Meanwhile, if Congress decides to give Manmohan Singh another term, the former PM will have to sit out of the Rajya Sabha for sometime till a sitting Congress member resigns after being elected to the Lok Sabha.

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