Guwahati, Thursday, March 25, 2010
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Cong, Opp step up campaign for RS polls
Staff Reporter
 GUWAHATI, March 24 – Armed with the Supreme Court verdict in the Kuldip Nayar vs Union of India case {(2006) 7 SCC}, Congress is on a campaign to reduce the support base of the Opposition camp to 38 during the March 26 election to the two Rajya Sabha (RS) seats of the State. An RS candidate from the State needs at least 43 votes in his or her favour to win, going by the present strength of the State Assembly.

The Opposition, however, exuded confidence that it would stand united and the Congress designs to divide its camp would fail miserably.

Congress party sources claimed today that the Supreme Court verdict in the Kuldip Nayar case would have a bearing on the whips the Opposition camp have proposed to serve on their respective members.

The said Supreme Court verdict had clearly stated that whips during the RS elections have no legal bindings on the MLAs, claimed the Congress party sources. This is despite the opinion of some of the legal experts here that the said Supreme Court verdict would not be able to influence any election.

Congress sources claimed that their party was hopeful of winning the support of three Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and four All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) legislators in favour of its candidates. Again, the Congress is also hopeful that three of the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) legislators would also abstain from casting their votes during the RS election.

When contacted, Leader of the Opposition and AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary told this newspaper that the AGP (24 members), BJP (10), AIUDF (9), CPI-M (2), CPI (1), Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC) (1) and the Ganashakti (1) would remain united.

The Congress would not be able to divide the Opposition camp, he claimed and asserted that whips would have the desired impact of preventing cross voting.

He described the Congress hullabaloo for the past two days over the whips proposed by the Opposition parties to prevent cross voting, as unwarranted. Whip is the inner-party issue of the Opposition parties.

With the noise over the issue, the Congress is undermining the democratic tradition of the country and insulting former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who brought forth the anti-defection legislation, said Patowary.

He reminded the Congress that the Opposition fielded consensus candidate earlier too. Former Rajya Sabha MP the late Tara Majumdar was a consensus candidate of the Opposition, he said.

Countering the Congress’ charge that the Opposition had ignored the leading intellectuals of the State while according its nomination for the Upper House of the Parliament, Patowary dared the ruling party to tell the people as to how many intellectuals it had sent to the Rajya Sabha as its nominees.

He also dared the ruling party to justify its decision to field two candidates without the required number of MLAs to support their candidature. That the Congress does not enjoy the support of the required number of MLAs to get both of its candidates elected is evident from the statements made by the Chief Minister on the issue, claimed Patowary.

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