Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Feb 3:
With suspended party MLA Bhimsen Choudhury playing truant, the state BJP on Monday postponed a final decision on who to support in the Rajya Sabha elections scheduled for Thursday.
While the BJP legislature party meeting convened today did take a call on who the party would support for the fourth Rajya Sabha seat, for which no party has the required numbers, it has decided to play safe by leaving the ‘final decision’ to the party’s parliamentary board.
“We have taken a decision on the issue and will send our recommendation to the parliamentary board for its consideration. We will make our stand clear after the approval of the board,” said BJP legislature party leader Jaynarayan Mishra.
The part is split down the middle on the question of supporting BJD supported independent candidate Padma Bibhushan Raghunath Mohapatra, sources said. While one section led by BJP national general secretary Dharmendra Pradhan is in favour of lending its support to Mohapatra, the other led by KV Singhdeo is staunchly opposed to any such move on the ground that the renowned sculptor is a ‘BJD backed candidate’.
A third section, represented by Ashok Sahu is in favour of abstaining since there is ‘no question of supporting the Congress candidate.’
Meanwhile, suspended BJP MLA from Bonai, Bhimsen Choudhury on Monday announced that he will not abide by the party’s decision on the issue of voting to elect the fourth candidate in the Rajya Sabha polls.
Choudhury said he will act as per his conscience and vote for the candidate most suitable for Odisha.
He further announced that he will not contest the forthcoming assembly elections on party ticket either.
However, state BJP president, K V Singhdeo said he will discuss the matter with Choudhury.
It may be recalled that Bhimsen Choudhury was suspended from BJP for violating the party whip in the 2010 Rajya Sabha elections. The BJP had then imposed whip on its MLAs to be present at the time of voting in the House and cast their votes in favour of independent candidate Tara Ranjan Patnaik.
Choudhury had then said that he is aware of the disciplinary action against him for violation of the party whip, but he was not in favour of casting his vote for the Congress supported independent candidate.