The ruling Biju Janata Dal in Orissa on Sunday issued a whip to all its legislators to ensure victory of the three candidates it has fielded in the June 17 Rajya Sabha poll, a party leader said.
"We have asked all the members of our legislature party to remain present in the assembly on June 17 from 9 am to 4 pm" party chief whip in the state assembly Rabi Narayan Pani said.
"We have asked them to cast their votes in favour of party candidates in order of preference positively without fail" he said.
The state has three vacancies coming up in the upper house of parliament with BJD's Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, the Congress' Radhakanta Naik and the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Bhagirathi Majhi completing their tenures July 1.
The BJD has re-nominated Mohapatra and fielded former legislator Sashi Bhusan Behera and its general secretary Baishnab Parida for the second and third seats.
In the 147-member assembly, the BJD has 103 members, Congress 27, the BJP six, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) four and the Communist Party of India (CPI) one. There are six Independent members.
The BJD can ensure victory of first two candidates on its own strength. However it requires eight more votes to get the third seat.
The presence of businessman Tara Patnaik as an Independent candidate for the third seat with the support of the Congress party has made the battle tough.
While the BJP and the CPI have not yet made their stand clear, three Independent members have said they will vote for Patnaik. The NCP has said it will vote for the BJD candidates.