Rajya Sabha elections: BJD fields three Rajya Sabha candidates from Odisha

Bhubaneswar: BJD candidates Prashanta Nanda, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and Achyuta Samanta today filed their nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha elections from Odisha here.

The three nominees filed their papers before the returning officer in the presence of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha and other senior party leaders. The trio filed papers for the three Rajya Sabha seats falling vacant in April. While founder and editor of an Odiya daily Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and founder of the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Bhubaneswar, Achyuta Samanta joined the BJD on Wednesday, Nanda was spokesperson of the ruling party.

Nanda, a film-actor-turned politician was elected to the state Assembly twice and had become a minister, while Soumya Ranjan Patnaik was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1996. Three seats in Rajya Sabha from the state will fall vacant as the tenure of BJD Members A U Singhdeo and Dilip Tirkey as well as BJD-backed Independent candidate A V Swami is scheduled to end on April 2.

However, taking into consideration the absolute majority of the BJD in the state Assembly with 118 members in the 147-member house, the election would be a formality even if the opposition fields any candidate. In the Assembly Congress has 15 RPT 15 members and BJP 10 MLAs. As per the schedule announced by the Election Commission, the last date of filing nominations is March 12, scrutiny of nominations on March 13 and the last date for withdrawal of candidature on March 15. The polling would begin at 9 AM and end at 4 PM while counting of votes and announcement of results would be made on March 23. The poll process would be completed on March 26.

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