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Friday, June 21, 2024

Ruling BJD supports Ashwini Vaishnaw for RS seat

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Bhubaneswar: Ending all speculation, the Ruling BJD on Wednesday extended its support to Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw for the Rajya Sabha seat from Odisha.

In a statement, BJD President Naveen Patnaik said on Wednesday the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) will support the candidature of Union Railways, Communication, and Information and Technology Minister for the greater interest of the state’s railways and telecom development in the ensuing election to the Rajya Sabha.

The party had earlier on Monday announced the names of two candidates—former BJD MLA Debashish Samantray and Biju Yuva Janata Dal Vice President Subhasish Khuntia—who had filed their nominations on Tuesday.

Although elections would be held for three Rajya Sabha seats in Odisha, the BJD had announced only two names on Monday, leading to a lot of political speculation about the third candidate in the political circle.

The terms of Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Prashant Nanda, and Amar Pattnaik, who were elected to Rajya Sabha from Odisha, will expire in April 2024.

The ruling BJD had supported the candidature of Ashwini Vaishnaw in the 1999 RS elections, who had then filed his nomination as a BJP candidate for the Rajya Sabha seat from Odisha.

As per the ECI notification, the last date for filing nominations is February 15, while the last date for withdrawing is February 20. The elections and counting of votes will be held on February 27.

Wednesday being a holiday, Vaishnaw, who is on a two-day visit to Odisha, will file his nominations on February 15, the last day of filing nomination papers for the RS elections.

Going by the strength of the ruling BJD in the Odisha Legislative Assembly, it will be a foregone conclusion that all three candidates will be elected to the Upper House.

In the 147-member Odisha Assembly, the BJD has 117 members, followed by the BJP (19), Congress (9), CPM, and Independents one each.

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