BJD announces candidates for three vacant Rajya Sabha seats

Naveen Patnaik.

Naveen Patnaik.  

Party names former IAS officer minutes after BJP claimed him as its candidate

Putting an end to all speculation, the Biju Janata Dal on Friday announced the names of its candidates for three vacant Rajya Sabha seats, bypolls to which are scheduled to be held on July 5.

The three candidates whose names were announced by Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik are former Indian Audit and Accounts Service officer Amar Patnaik, former Odisha-cadre Indian Administrative Service officer Aswini Kumar Vaishnaw and BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra.

While former IA&AS officer Mr. Patnaik had joined the BJD in August last year after quitting service nine years before retirement, Mr. Vaishnaw had also quit service after serving in the office of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as deputy secretary. He was then serving as a director with an Odisha-based mining company.

Interestingly, the BJD president announced Mr. Vaishnaw’s name as one of his party candidates for the Rajya Sabha bypoll minutes after the BJP tweeted that the former IAS officer will be their candidate for the upcoming Rajya Sabha bypolls from Odisha.

As the announcement of Mr. Vaishnaw’s name as a candidate for the Rajya Sabha bypolls by the BJP created sudden ripples in political circle, the Chief Minister clarified that both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah had spoken to him seeking his party’s support to the candidature of the former IAS officer who also served as Mr. Vajpayee’s private secretary in the past.

Going by its membership strength in the State Assembly, the BJD was set to win all three seats. The BJP was not in a position to win even one seat on its own since it had only 23 legislators in the 147-member House. The BJD has 112 legislators in the Assembly which has strength of 146 members at present since election for one seat has not been held yet.

Mr. Patra had joined the BJD in 2014 after quitting Congress. A Christian leader, he is also the president of the Odisha Minority Forum.

No woman candidate

Political analysts had earlier expected that the BJD may choose at least one woman for the Rajya Sabha this time, but it did not come true. The BJD has only one woman Rajya Sabha member at present. Since the BJD had given 33% tickets to women in the recently held Lok Sabha polls, many women leaders were hopeful of getting the ticket.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 6:33:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/bjd-announces-candidates-for-three-vacant-rajya-sabha-seats/article28104327.ece

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