NEW DELHI, March 10 - The BJP is in dilemma as former Assam MP Sanjay Singh is seeking nomination to the Rajya Sabha from the State.
The BJP had promised former Congress Rajya Sabha member Bhubaneswar Kalita a seat from Assam and the partymen in the State have been given to understand that he is going to be BJP�s candidate. Kalita had quit Congress on the eve of the voting for the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and later joined the BJP.
Sources said none other than Union Home Minister and then party president Amit Shah had conveyed to senior partymen that Kalita would be re-nominated to the Rajya Sabha.
However, Sanjay Singh, the erstwhile ruler of Amethi and a senior Congressmen, who had close links with the Gandhi family resigned from his seat and the Congress party, and joined the BJP.
Now, Singh has thrown his hat in the ring and wants a Rajya Sabha nomination from Assam. Meanwhile, former Lok Sabha member Ramen Deka is also in the race.
Talking to this newspaper, Sanjay Singh recently confirmed that he was seeking a nomination from Assam. �Yes I have been promised a seat from Assam and I will return as Rajya Sabha member from the State. I am coming back,� he asserted.
On being informed that the BJP may have other plans and may nominate Kalita, Singh said, �Yes, I know that, but don�t worry we are both coming to Rajya Sabha from Assam.�
Sanjay Singh�s assertion indicates that the BJP may be eyeing the third Rajya Sabha seat in Assam, and though the party is yet to open its cards, it may deploy party strongman Himanta Biswa Sarma to manage the show.
Sources close to Kalita told this newspaper that he had been promised a seat and is waiting for a formal announcement by the party. �But we are keeping our fingers crossed till it is formally announced,� sources added.
Meanwhile, the Congress, which is waiting and watching the situation, held a meeting on Monday night at party general secretary KC Venugopal�s house to discuss Rajya Sabha nominations.
Sources said the Assam Congress has submitted two lists. One panel of 12 names comprises leaders like Sushmita Dev, Paban Singh Ghatowar, Durga Das Boro and Dwijen Sarma, among others, while the other for a third front candidate features names of Jayanta Baruah, Ajit Bhuyan, Hiren Gohain, among others.
AICC general secretary Harish Rawat, who was part of the meeting, on the advise of the State unit conveyed that the party high command has been authorised to take a call.
The Congress is also watching AIUDF without whose support the third seat cannot be won. AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal with 13 MLAs is playing the kingmaker but shifting his stance. First, he asked the Congress to support his brother�s candidature and then he said that he is willing to support Priyanka Gandhi�s candidature.
Sources said the BJP, which has surplus votes, even with the support of AIUDF may not win the third seat without the support of at least 10 Congress MLAs. Therefore, the possibility of a common candidate being nominated is high at this point of time.