BJD in Odisha Faces Problem of Plenty in Picking Candidates for Three Vacant Rajya Sabha Seats
With bypolls for the three of four vacant Rajya Sabha seats in Odisha being held on July 5, the ruling Biju Janata Dal party is grappling to choose contenders. Chief Minister and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik, widely hailed as the “Chanakya of politics,” had fielded six of the party’s Rajya Sabha members in the simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha polls, a gamble that yielded mixed results for the party.
Now, with bypolls nearing, the party finds it hard to name its candidates, even though their victory is a foregone conclusion.
The last date for filing nominations for the polls is June 25. But Patnaik is reportedly still undecided on which three leaders to field. While his decision to field six Rajya Sabha members in the battle of 2019 was spurred in part by the need to quell rebellion in the BJD, the nomination of three leaders to the Upper House now presents possibilities of a fresh round of revolts in the party.
With at least ten senior leaders vying for the three Rajya Sabha berths, it is a problem of plenty for the party which returned to power for a record fifth term in Odisha with more than a two-third majority in the Assembly.
The simultaneous polls in Odisha in April-May led to four Rajya Sabha seats from the state falling vacant, but polls are being held for three. These are the berths vacated by BJD leaders Achyuta Samanta, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and Pratap Keshari Deb.