Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, also a renowned economist, will be missed in the upcoming Budget session of the Parliament as his nearly 30-year-long tenure as a Rajya Sabha member ended on Friday. Singh, who is credited with keeping India away from the great recession of 2008, would not be present in the Rajya Sabha for the first time since his first election from Assam in 1991 as he could not make up to the Parliament’ upper House due to Congress’ poor strength in the state Assembly.
Congress could not get him re-elected from Assam as it has only 25 MLAs as against 43 first-preference votes needed. The grand old party would have fallen short of five MLAs had it even got the support of 13 legislators of All India United Democratic Front.
The party even cannot send Singh from other states where Rajya Sabha seats are vacant. With the election of BJP’s Kamakhya Prasad Tasa and AGP’s Birender Prasad Baishya’s unopposed election from Assam, a total of nine seats are lying vacant in Odisha (4), Tamil Nadu (1), Bihar (2) and Gujarat (2).
Congress does not have required numbers to secure any Rajya Sabha berths in these states except Gujarat where it is eyeing to grab at least one seat.
Although Singh can be sent to the House from Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan or Punjab, there are no immediate vacancies in these states. The party has the ultimate option to make any other leader resign and get him elected from that seat in order to keep the two-time former Prime Minister in the House. However, party sources maintain that it has not been considered in the party.