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Cong may field Sanjay Singh

By Kalyan Barooah
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NEW DELHI, Jan 27 � In a surprise move that has taken even Congressmen by surprise, the AICC is all set to nominate Lok Sabha MP Sanjay Singh from Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh, from Assam to the Rajya Sabha.

The decision that has landed the State ruling party in a tight spot and is likely to face sharp criticism, was kept under wraps and only few top leaders were privy to the information that an �outsider� is being brought into Assam.

Even Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi was brought into the loop at a later stage. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, has been representing Assam in the Rajya Sabha since 1990.

Though it is yet to be formally declared, the picture has become clear and the ruling Congress is likely to nominate Bhubaneswar Kalita as its third candidate, while BPF nominee Biswajit Daimary already filed his papers on Monday. The Congress Party�s formal announcement is expected to come late tonight or tomorrow, the last date for filing of nomination.

Sanjay Singh�s possible nomination is seen as Congress president Sonia Gandhi�s attempt to placate the sulking Sultanpur MP, who also happens to be �King of Amethi�, which is Rahul Gandhi�s constituency. The telecom minister was reportedly planning to join the BJP.

The AICC though, described reports of Sanjay Singh�s nomination as a mere speculation. Party spokesman Mukul Wasnik urged media to wait for a formal announcement. He was replying to a question on whether Rahul Gandhi has become so scared of winning Amethi seat that Sanjay Singh has to be nominated from Assam to save the vice president.

AICC�s decision may be also partly due to the high decibel campaign launched by Aam Admi Party in Amethi, from where Kumar Viswas is contesting. The AAP candidate has pitched his camp in the constituency posing a serious challenge to Rahul Gandhi.

The drama of AICC possibly looking for a safe seat for Singh unfolded about a week back, when top AICC leaders started enquiring about the numbers enjoyed by Congress Party in Assam and the chances of wresting all the three seats. The confusing signals sent by the Opposition also led the AICC leaders to adopt a wait and watch policy.

On Saturday evening Congress president called up Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi to convey that AICC would like to nominate one of its candidates from Assam.

Sources privy to the developments said that the only condition Chief Minister put up was that the BPF nominee should be the second candidate, which AICC initially refused to accept.

Sources further disclosed that Bhubaneswar Kalita�s candidature was initially rejected because he was seeking a fourth term, leading the PCC president to launch an intense lobbying campaign with top leaders of AICC. Finally, the Chief Minister was given the option of choosing between Kalita and Kirip Chaliha, who was backed by the disgruntled MLAs. Gogoi opted for Kalita, said sources.

However, a blame game is expected to start soon, as a section of Congress-men this correspondent spoke to, were extremely peeved with Gogoi for giving in without much protest.

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Cong may field Sanjay Singh

NEW DELHI, Jan 27 � In a surprise move that has taken even Congressmen by surprise, the AICC is all set to nominate Lok Sabha MP Sanjay Singh from Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh, from Assam to the Rajya Sabha.

The decision that has landed the State ruling party in a tight spot and is likely to face sharp criticism, was kept under wraps and only few top leaders were privy to the information that an �outsider� is being brought into Assam.

Even Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi was brought into the loop at a later stage. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, has been representing Assam in the Rajya Sabha since 1990.

Though it is yet to be formally declared, the picture has become clear and the ruling Congress is likely to nominate Bhubaneswar Kalita as its third candidate, while BPF nominee Biswajit Daimary already filed his papers on Monday. The Congress Party�s formal announcement is expected to come late tonight or tomorrow, the last date for filing of nomination.

Sanjay Singh�s possible nomination is seen as Congress president Sonia Gandhi�s attempt to placate the sulking Sultanpur MP, who also happens to be �King of Amethi�, which is Rahul Gandhi�s constituency. The telecom minister was reportedly planning to join the BJP.

The AICC though, described reports of Sanjay Singh�s nomination as a mere speculation. Party spokesman Mukul Wasnik urged media to wait for a formal announcement. He was replying to a question on whether Rahul Gandhi has become so scared of winning Amethi seat that Sanjay Singh has to be nominated from Assam to save the vice president.

AICC�s decision may be also partly due to the high decibel campaign launched by Aam Admi Party in Amethi, from where Kumar Viswas is contesting. The AAP candidate has pitched his camp in the constituency posing a serious challenge to Rahul Gandhi.

The drama of AICC possibly looking for a safe seat for Singh unfolded about a week back, when top AICC leaders started enquiring about the numbers enjoyed by Congress Party in Assam and the chances of wresting all the three seats. The confusing signals sent by the Opposition also led the AICC leaders to adopt a wait and watch policy.

On Saturday evening Congress president called up Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi to convey that AICC would like to nominate one of its candidates from Assam.

Sources privy to the developments said that the only condition Chief Minister put up was that the BPF nominee should be the second candidate, which AICC initially refused to accept.

Sources further disclosed that Bhubaneswar Kalita�s candidature was initially rejected because he was seeking a fourth term, leading the PCC president to launch an intense lobbying campaign with top leaders of AICC. Finally, the Chief Minister was given the option of choosing between Kalita and Kirip Chaliha, who was backed by the disgruntled MLAs. Gogoi opted for Kalita, said sources.

However, a blame game is expected to start soon, as a section of Congress-men this correspondent spoke to, were extremely peeved with Gogoi for giving in without much protest.

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