Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived here on Wednesday to submit his nomination papers seeking re-election to the Rajya Sabha for the fourth consecutive time amid protests by opposition political parties and the All Assam Students Union (AASU).
While the AGP and BJP staged demonstrations opposing Singhs re-nomination from Assam,the AASU demonstrated by parading 15 persons with Manmohan Singh masks,each holding a placard saying I am responsible for the burning problems of Assam.
There were also protests outside the legislative assembly secretariat,where Singh submitted his nomination papers,by mediapersons who were debarred from entering the premises. Several attempts made by different ministers of the state government to pacify the media yielded no result.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi himself came out to meet the media,and assured that the Prime Minister would interact with the media at the assembly gate itself. But all that Singh did was to make a statement of three or four sentences,and hurriedly boarded his car,leaving no scope for the media to ask any question.
I thank the people of Assam for having sent me to the Rajya Sabha for the past 22 years. I am indebted to the people and will never be able to repay this debt, Singh said. He said he would continue his efforts to accelerate the pace of economic development of his adopted home state.
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Interestingly,several leading intellectuals of the state have come down heavily on the Prime Minister. Manmohan Singhs continuing as an MP from Assam for more than two decades has not served any purpose. Instead it has only demeaned the democratic system. He is in no way associated with the society in Assam, said Prof Udaditya Bharali,an intellectual and historian.
In an article in a local daily,Bharali also said,Most people in Assam had never heard of him till he was first sent to Rajya Sabha in 1991. Moreover,the manner in which he proved his residential status in Assam way back in 1991 was not proper. He has not lived even for 22 days in his rented house in Guwahati in the past 22 years.
Another leading intellectual Prof Deven Dutta said Singh comes to Assam only on specific occasions. While the cuckoo comes to Assam only during spring,Dr Singh comes to Assam only to renew his Rajya Sabha seat, he said.