Candidates can file nomination papers till Jan. 28

The process for the elections for four Rajya Sabha seats in Odisha began with issuance of the formal notification for filing of nomination papers on Tuesday.

The candidates can file their nomination papers till January 28 and elections will be held on February 7 if more than four candidates filed nomination papers, according to A. K. Sarangi, Secretary of Odisha Legislative Assembly and Returning Officer for the Rajya Sabha polls.

The scrutiny of the nomination papers would be done on January 29 while the date of withdrawal of nominations was January 31.

The elections for the four Rajya Sabha seats were being held as the tenure of four members of the Upper House of Parliament was coming to an end.

The Rajya Sabha members whose tenure was coming to an end were Balbir Punj of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Ramachandra Khuntia of Congress, and Mangala Kisan and Renubala Pradhan of Biju Janata Dal.

The BJD was all set to grab three of the four vacant Rajya Sabha seats as the party had 108 legislators in the 147-member State Assembly. There could contest for the fourth seat if Congress, which had 27 legislators, fields a candidate. The BJP had no scope of fielding a candidate as it had only six legislators in the Assembly.

Meanwhile, hectic lobbying had started by a large number of BJD leaders for the three Rajya Sabha seats which the party was sure of winning.