Naveen picks Prashant, Soumya and Achyuta as BJD candidates for Rajya Sabha elections

Bhubaneswar: Putting all the speculations to rest, Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday named party spokesperson Prashanta Nanda, media baron Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and KIIT and KISS founder Dr Achyuta Samanta to represent the party in the Rajya Sabha.
Patnaik and Samanta joined the BJD today morning in the presence of Patnaik at the latter’s residence.

“The three Rajya Sabha candidates for the Biju Janata Dal are Prashanta Nanda, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and Achyuta Samanta,” announced Patnaik at his residence.

Notably, the three Rajya Sabha seats in Odisha are among total 58 seats which would go to poll on March 23.

Announcement of names of Nanda, Patnaik and Samanta is significant as all the three vacant Rajya Sabha seats are likely to go in favour of the ruling party with a strength of 117 in the 147-member Assembly. Hence, the election is merely a formality.

The term of BJD MPs-AU Singhdeo, Dilip Tirkey and party-supported member AV Swami will come to an end on April 3, 2018. While two of the MPs are from the BJD, Swami is an independent supported by the ruling party.

Opposition Congress and BJP lack the numbers to get even one candidate elected to the Upper House of Parliament.

While BJD has 117 MLAs in the 147-member Odisha Assembly, Congress has 15 members followed by BJP with 10 MLAs.

The filing of nomination papers began from March 5 and will continue till March 12.

Scrutiny of nomination papers will be held on March 13 while the last date for withdrawal is March 15. In the event of the election, it will be held on March 23 between 9 am and 4 pm in the Committee Room no-54 of the Assembly Secretariat Buildings.

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