With closing of the application process, a total of four candidates have filed nominations for election of three Rajya Sabha seats from Assam, to be held on February 7.
Congress' present Rajya Sabha member Bhubaneshwar Kalita and Lok Sabha member from Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh Sanjay Singh filed their nominations, while the party's ally in the state Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF) have fielded its present member of the Upper House Biswajit Daimary.
Former journalist Haidar Hussain was the last candidate to file his nomination with support from the opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly, comprising BJP, AGP and AIUDF. "Today three candidates filed nominations, while one person filed yesterday. The last date of filing the nomination ended today," Assam Legislative Assembly Principal Secretary Gauranga Prasad Das told PTI here. The nominations will be scrutinised tomorrow, while the last date to withdraw the same is January 31, he added.
"The election will take place on February 7 morning and the results will be declared in the same day evening at 5 PM," Das, who is also the Returning Officer, said.
The election will take place due to completion of terms on April 9 by three existing members. The three seats will be vacated by the three-time Rajya Sabha member and Congress state unit President Bhubaneswar Kalita, Asom Gana Parishad's Birendra Prasad Baishya and BPF's Biswajit Daimary.
On Singh's nomination, many organisations and political parties have criticised the Congress for supporting an outsider as the state's candidate.
Singh was accompanied by Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and other senior leaders during filing of the nomination at the state Assembly complex Commenting on the criticism, Gogoi told reporters "I am a Sonia Gandhi and Indira Gandhi loyalist. Sonia Gandhi has selected him and all Congress MLAs in Assam have supported. We are a national party."
When asked if Singh's candidature will negatively affect the Lok Sabha election outcome for the Congress in Assam, the Chief Minister replied in the negative.
Asked if he supported Singh in the interest of Rahul Gandhi with a hope of getting a Lok Sabha ticket for his son, Gogoi angrily shot back and said "Don't bring my son into this." Kalita said his party will support the BPF candidate and hopes to win all three seats.
Commenting on the joint candidate Haidar Hussain, BJP national vice-president Bijoya Chakravarty said "to defeat the Congress candidate, we have jointly put up Hussain. We will definitely win."
There are seven Rajya Sabha seats from Assam with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also representing the state in the Upper House.