Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will not contest the Lok Sabha elections, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said today, putting speculations of Dr Singh contesting from Amritsar to rest. Dr Singh, 86, was "never in the reckoning as he had made it clear that he was not interested in contesting elections," the chief minister said in Chandigarh.
Amarinder Singh, also known as Captain, said his meeting with the former PM in Delhi on Saturday was just a courtesy call. He said, "We went to enquire about his health. We briefed the former Prime Minister on the Congress plans in Punjab".
Sources had yesterday said that the Punjab Congress unit had made a "fervent request" to Manmohan Singh, telling him that Punjabis would be delighted if he contested the national election from Amritsar, home to the holiest Sikh shrine Golden Temple.
This is not the first time Manmohan Singh has been offered the constituency; in the 2009 national election he declined the request on account of ill health.
In the 2014 election, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley contested from Amritsar and lost to Amarinder Singh.
Manmohan Singh has been a Rajya Sabha member since 1991 from Assam and his term ends on June 14. He has never won Lok Sabha elections; in 1999, he was the Congress candidate from South Delhi, one of the seven parliamentary seats in the capital, but lost to the BJP's VK Malhotra.
In the coming Rajya Sabha elections in Assam, the Congress does not have enough numbers to seal Manmohan Singh's re-election. The Congress will need the support of parties like the All India United Democratic Front.
Voting for Punjab's 13 Lok Sabha seats will be held on May 19, the last of the seven phase parliamentary elections. Results will be declared on May 23.
With inputs from IANS