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Rajya Sabha election : Congress-AIUDF friendship rejuvanated

English NewsRajya Sabha election : Congress-AIUDF friendship rejuvanated

The Rajya Sabha election in Assam has refreshed the friendship between Congress and the minority-based All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF). On March 18, Congress president Sonia Gandhi approved the names of Ripun Bora and Jeby Mather as the party’s candidates for the Upper House from Assam and Kerala respectively. The names were announced after the AIUDF declared its support for the Congress nominees with a rider.”We accepted the request of the Congress high command for support, which is to be reciprocated when our candidate contests the next Rajya Sabha election,” AIUDF general secretary Aminul Islam said. The elections to two Rajya Sabha seats from Assam are scheduled on March 31. These seats are currently held by Mr. Bora and Ranee Narah, also of Congress. The State has a total of seven Rajya Sabha seats. Three are with the BJP (Sarbananda Sonowal, Bhubaneswar Kalita and Kamakhya Prasad Tasa) and one each with the BJP’s ally Asom Gana Parishad (Birendra Prasad Baishya) and the Anchalik Gana Morcha (Ajit Kumar Bhuyan). The Congress needs the votes of 42 MLAs in the 126-member House to win a seat and claims to have 44 MLAs. But two of them – Sherman Ali Ahmed and Sashikanta Das – are under suspension. The latter joined the BJP, while the former said he may vote for any candidate of his choice. “I am not bound by the Congress whip,” Mr. Ahmed said. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had a few days ago said the candidates of the BJP and its ally, United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL), will win the two Rajya Sabha seats even though they are one short of the required votes of 84 MLAs. The UPPL has named its working president, Rwngwra Narzary, as the candidate for the Rajya Sabha election. All candidates are expected to file their nominations on March 21.

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