BJD announces two names for Rajya Sabha polls
At Naveen Niwas this evening, Patnaik announced the name of Amar Patnaik, a former principal accountant general of Kerala and West Bengal and now BJD’s IT cell head as one of the BJD candidates.Updated: Jun 21, 2019 23:55 IST
Odisha chief minister and Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik has nominated his party’s IT cell head and a party spokesperson for two of the three Rajya Sabha seats that fell vacant after the resignation of 3 BJD MPs.
Incidentally, the party decided to support BJP candidate and former Odisha cadre IAS officer Ashwini Vaishnaw for the third seat.
By-election to three Rajya Sabha seats in Odisha has been necessitated by the resignation of Achyuta Samanta, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and Pratap Keshari Deb.
At Naveen Niwas this evening, Patnaik announced the name of Amar Patnaik, a former principal accountant general of Kerala and West Bengal and now BJD’s IT cell head as one of the BJD candidates. The CM also nominated Sasmit Patra, party spokesman for the second seat.
Amar Patnaik, who joined BJD last year after resigning from the Indian Audit and Accounts Service, was one of the key players in BJD’s electoral success using technology and manpower to secure 112 seats in the Assembly. He was already seen as a key favourite for the Rajya Sabha poll.
Sasmit Patra, the other BJD candidate, has been the BJD spokesperson for over two years. Son of former Christian leader Swarupananda Patra, Sasmit has been BJD’s most visible face in TV channel debates.
However, the surprise announcement was that of 1994-batch Odisha cadre IAS officer Ashwini Vaishnaw, who is now working in the private sector after resigning from the government. There was some confusion initially over Vaishnaw’s candidature as BJP announced him as its candidate half an hour before BJD. BJP has only 23 MLAs in the Odisha Assembly.
The chief minister later clarified that Vaishnaw was the BJP candidate and BJD would support him. He said PM Modi and union home minister Amit Shah had requested him to support Vaishnaw, who in 2004 worked as private secretary to former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The election if necessary, will be held on July 5. The victory for the three candidates seems a foregone conclusion with the Election Commission clarifying that separate polls would be held for each of the seats though the schedule could be the same.
BJD with 112 seats can easily see through all the 3 candidates.