Bhubaneswar: Biju Janata Dal (BJD) candidates for the upcoming elections to three Rajya Sabha seats from Odisha, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, Achyuta Samanta and Prashanta Nanda filed their respective nomination papers for the polls here today with Returning Officer Rajesh Prabhakar Patil at the State Assembly Conference Hall.
The three filed the nominations in the presence of Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik and several other MLAs of the party.
“I am sure that all the three BJD candidates for the Rajya Sabha will speak strongly for the interests of Odisha in the House. We have always raised the Special Category Status for Odisha and we are doing so again,” Naveen Patnaik said speaking to reporters.
With the ruling BJD enjoying a thumping majority of 118 members in the 147-seat Odisha Assembly, opposition Congress and BJP are least likely to field candidates in the elections.
Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, founder and editor of leading Odia daily ‘Sambad’ and Achyuta Samanta, noted educationist and founder of KIIT and KISS, had joined the party on March 7.
Later on the very day, BJD chief Naveen Patnaik had announced the name of the two and senior party leader Prashanta Nanda as BJD candidates for the Rajya Sabha elections.
Notably, the last date for filing nomination papers for the polls is March 12. While nomination papers will be scrutinized on March 13, the last date for withdrawal of candidature is March 15.
The polling and counting will be held between 9.00 am and 4.00 pm on March 23.
Worth mentioning, three seats in Rajya Sabha from Odisha will be lying vacant after the tenure of AU Singhdeo (BJD), Dilip Tirkey (BJD) and AV Swami (Independent) ending on April 2, 2018.