PM wins Rajya Sabha seat from Assam for fifth term running

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today once again kept his seat in the Rajya Sabha, as the Congress won both seats on offer in Assam.

Dr Singh is India's only prime minister who has never directly contested an election, and hence has never been a member of the Lok Sabha. But this will be his fifth consecutive term in the upper house of parliament.

Singh got 49 first preference votes, while the second Congress candidate bagged 45 votes in the 126-member state Assembly, Assam's principal secretary and returning officer G P Das said.

The losing candidate was Aminul Islam of the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), who polled 18 votes.

The AIUDF is a partner of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the centre, and its 18 MLAs gave their second preference vote to the Prime Minister.

The prime minister was the only contestant for the first preference vote seat as the other parties did not put up any candidate against him.

The votes of all 78 Congress members and its ally Bodoland Peoples Front's 12 MLAs were found to be valid, Das said.

Opposition parties Asom Gana Parishad and the Bharatiya Janata Party, who have nine and five MLAs respectively, had earlier decided to abstain from voting.

The Congress now has five members of the seven members elected from Assam to the Rajya Sabha.