Bhubaneswar, June 19 (LocalWire): With the announcement of the by-election for the three of four vacant Rajya Sabha (RS) seats in Odisha, intensive lobbying has started within the ruling Biju Janata Dal for the coveted berth in the Upper House.
The elections for the three RS seats in the state will be held on 5 July and the last date of filing the nomination is 25 June.
Those eyeing the three Rajya Sabha seats include former MLA from Berhampur Ramesh Chandra Chyau Patnaik and former MP from Bhubaneswar Prasanna Patnasani, and few other heavyweights who lost in the recent elections or were deprived the party ticket.
It is reported that the two senior leaders of the ruling BJD were denied ticket in the last general election with an assurance of an RS berth by the party supremo and chief minister Naveen Patnaik.
While Patsani had won the Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha five times, Chyau Patnaik has also been representing Berhampur in the state Assembly successively for five times since 1995.
According to a party insider, while the chances are bright for the senior duo to get the berth in the Upper House, the final decision will only be taken by the chief minister.
Names of Arup Patnaik, Sanjaya Dasburma, Maheswar Mohanty, and former MP from Baleswar Rabindra Jena, however, are also going rounds in the local political circles.
Political observers also point out that other political parties, including BJP and Congress, may not field any candidate since they do not have sufficient strength to push their candidates for the RS seat in Odisha.
With a strength of 111 MLAs out of 147 members in the state Assembly, the BJD is well placed to ensure its nominees are elected to the Upper House as each RS candidate requires the support of 38 MLAs to win.
The RS seats had fallen vacant after Achyuta Samanta, Pratap Keshari Deb and Soumya Ranjan Patnaik were elected to Lok Sabha and state Assembly in the just concluded twin elections.
While Samanta was elected to the Lok Sabha from Kandhamal, Deb and Patnaik were elected to the state Assembly from Ali and Khandapara respectively.
Samanta and Patnaik’s term in Rajya Sabha was to end in April 2024 while Deb’s term in the Upper House was till July 2022.
The by-election for the seat vacated by Anubhav Mohanty, who has been elected to Lok Sabha from Kendrapara will not be held since the existing tenure ends in April 2020, which is less than one year, sources said.