Debating India

Assam is proud of its Man

Thursday 20 May 2004

GUWAHATI: People in Assam can hardly believe that the next Prime Minister is from their state; Manmohan Singh’s permanent address in the record books is Nandan Nagar in Dispur.

Singh had been representing Assam in the Rajya Sabha since 1991 when the then Assam chief minister (Late) Hiteswar Saikia hosted him as a resident of Guwahati. After that, his official permanent address in Parliament has been Dispur. The state returned him to the Upper House in 1995 and again in 2001.

North-East had its first brush with the country’s top posts when Assam ’s Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed became the fifth President of India in 1974 and again in 1996 when Meghalaya’s Purno A Sangma was elected Lok Sabha Speaker. But this is as big as it gets.

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi, who is in New Delhi , told Times News Network that the happiness which Sonia Gandhi would have brought by becoming the Prime Minister would not change with Manmohan Singh in the same chair. "We wanted Sonia Gandhi to become Prime Minister, but we are also happy with Manmohan Singh as he is Sonia’s choice. We have to respect her decision," he said.

Singh is very popular in Assam ’s Kamrup district. He has been generous with his MP local area development fund. According to official records, he utilised around 94 per cent of the funds sanctioned to him in the district - the highest among other MPs from the state; that’s Rs 15.06 crore for the district’s development since 1993.

Writer Nirmalprabha Bordoloi appreciated Congress’ decision to go with Manmohan as the PM. "He has a soft corner for Assam and the state has benefited a lot from him. I think everyone should be happy," she said.

See online : The Times of India


in The Times of India, Thursday, May 20, 2004.

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