Rajya Sabha Poll : BJD could pick a surprise candidate for 3rd spot


By Tapan Moharana

Bhubaneswar: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has announced the names of its two senior leaders Debashish Samantaray and Subhasish Khuntia for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections. Bjd president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday nominated the two to the Rajya Sabha. Debashish Samantray, a former MLA, was an aspirant to contest the upcoming elections on a BJD ticket from Barabati in Cuttack. In the last elections, Debashis had lost the seat to Congress candidate Mohammad Mokim. Similarly, Subhasish Khuntia alias Lucky Khuntia, who was the vice-president of Biju Yuva Janata Dal, was working hard to contest from Puri assembly seat.

However, the suspense continues as to who will be the third candidate. Can the BJD play the women’s card by nominating a woman as the third candidate? Accordng to sources, ‘Mo school Abhiyan’ Chairman Sushmita Bagchi’s name is in the list of the potential female candidates.

However, several questions running in the political circle about the possible third candidate. Will the BJD take on the BJP’s tribal card by sending a tribal candidate to the Rajya Sabha? Or will a tribal woman be sent to the Rajya Sabha? According to some media reports, the names of Puri MP Pinaki Mishra and former Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik are also doing the rounds in the probable Rajya Sabha list. According to another possibility, the BJP-BJD alliance may field a joint candidate like Ashwini Vaishnaw last time. There’s also a strong possibility that Ashwani could be repeated.

Anyway, the third candidate will surely surprise everyone.

According to the notification by the Election Commission of India, polling for the three Rajya Sabha seats in Odisha will be held from 9 am to 4 pm on February 27 in the state assembly premises and the counting of votes will take place at 5 pm on the same day. The last date for filing nominations is February 15. Two BJD MPs Prashant Nanda and Amar Patnaik and BJP’s Union minister Ashwini Vaishnaw are completing their terms in the Rajya Sabha in April this year.

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