Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was never in the “reckoning for candidature” as he had clarified that he was not interested in contesting the Lok Sabha elections. The Punjab chief minister said Manmohan Singh would not contest the polls this year.

There was speculation that Manmohan Singh may be fielded as the Congress’ candidate from Amritsar Lok Sabha seat. However, the former prime minister had reportedly expressed unwillingness to contest the elections citing his health and age. There had been reports that during his meeting with Manmohan Singh last week, Amarinder Singh had said that the Congress’ state unit unanimously wanted him to run from the seat.

“Manmohan Singh was never a candidate from Amritsar,” Amarinder Singh told reporters. “He had told us a long time ago that he is not interested in contesting.”

Amarinder Singh said he had met Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Saturday as a “courtesy call”. “We want to enquire about his health. We briefed the former prime minister on the Congress’ plans in Punjab,” he said, according to IANS.

Elections to the 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab will be held on May 19 – the last phase of the seven-phase parliamentary election.

Manmohan Singh, who has never won any Lok Sabha elections, has been representing Assam in the Rajya Sabha since 1991. His term ends on June 14.

In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections too, Manmohan Singh, then prime minister, had declined the request to contest from the constituency on account of ill health.