Shillong, Jan 31 (IANS) Veteran Congress leader and North East Congress Coordination Committee (NECCC) chairman D.D. Lapang Friday defended his party leadership’s decision to field Sanjay Singh as a candidate for the Rajya Sabha from Assam.
“A Congressman can be used anywhere in the country. I do not take it that way (that northeast is now a dumping ground to rehabilitate Congress leaders from elsewhere),” Lapang told journalists.
“For instance, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is not from Assam, but he is a Rajya Sabha member from there. The judgement of the AICC is final, and we cannot question that,” the former Meghalaya chief minister added.
NECCC is an apex body of the Congress party in the northeastern states.
Sanjay Singh, a Lok Sabha member of the Congress from Sultanpur constituency in Uttar Pradesh, Tuesday filed nomination papers for one of the three Rajya Sabha seats from Assam, leading to resentment among many Congress leaders in the state.
Refusing to comment further on his nomination, the NECCC chairman said, “I will not pass further comments on that because the affected state is Assam. If Assam is comfortable with that, who am I to question?”
When asked to comment on reports that the nomination would have an adverse effect on the Congress performance in Assam in this year’s Lok Sabha polls, Lapang said: “I have not assessed anything for Assam. I do not have anything to say.”
Several civil society groups and political parties, including the influential All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), have opposed Sanjay Singh’s candidature from the state.
Terming his candidature from Assam as an “insult” to the people of the state, AASU advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya blamed the state Congress leadership, including Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and state Congress Committee chief Bhubaneswar Kalita, for their “shameless surrender” before Sonia and Rahul Gandhi while neglecting the interests of the people of the state.