- Congress depending on Rajasthan for his Manmohan Singh's renomination
- DMK named candidates for 3 Rajya Sabha seats, gave one to MDMK
- Ex-prime minister Manmohan Singh was a Rajya Sabha member from Assam
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's road to the Rajya Sabha has once again been re-routed after the Congress and its ally DMK failed to agree on a seat for him from Tamil Nadu. After Assam, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, the Congress is now depending on Rajasthan for his renomination to parliament.
The DMK on Tuesday named candidates for three Rajya Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu, assigning one of them to ally V Gopalasamy or Vaiko of MDMK.
Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK and the opposition DMK have enough legislators to win three Rajya Sabha seats each.
It was widely reported that the DMK of MK Stalin, who had once pitched Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for the prime minister's post, had agreed to keep one from its share for Manmohan Singh.
Sources say one of the reasons for the DMK's change of heart was that neither of the Congress's top two, Rahul Gandhi or his mother Sonia Gandhi, directly approached Mr Stalin. Instead the Congress's Ahmed Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad spoke to their counterparts in the DMK, which upset the party's leadership.
Manmohan Singh, who was prime minister for 10 years until his Congress-led UPA government was defeated by the BJP in 2014, was a Rajya Sabha member from Assam. The Congress no longer has enough lawmakers to renominate him from the northeastern state.
The Congress reportedly decided to nominate the former prime minister from Gujarat, where two Rajya Sabha seats are vacant after the election of the BJP's Amit Shah and Smriti Irani to the Lok Sabha. But sources say the party decided against it after its request for simultaneous Rajya Sabha bypolls was denied.
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued that if the election to each seat is held on different days, the BJP will win both in the "first-past-the-post" system since it has 20 more lawmakers the Congress. If the voting is held simultaneously on the same day, the Congress can win one of the seats, he said. But these elections are never clubbed together, the Election Commission said. The Supreme Court rejected a petition by the Gujarat Congress challenging the election body's decision.
The Congress is now reportedly planning to nominate Manmohan Singh from Rajasthan, where state BJP chief Madan Lal Saini's Rajya Sabha seat fell vacant after his death in June. His tenure was till April 2024. The Congress, which took power in the state after winning the assembly polls in December, is confident of winning the seat.