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BJD zeroes in on candidates for RS seats

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OST Political Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 23:

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) appears to have zeroed in on its candidates for all four seats up for grabs in the coming Rajya Sabha elections. It has finalised the names of its candidates – one each from the coastal, western and south Odisha – for the three seats it is certain to win while selecting an apolitical architect for the fourth seat that the Congress would find hard to oppose, BJD sources said.

Two of the three party leaders chosen are ministers in the Naveen Patnaik government while the third is a powerful leader from south Odisha who has been an aspirant for an RS seat for a long time, the sources said.

They have been informed about their candidature and asked to get their papers, including their property list, ready to file their nominations, they said. However, one of the two ministers chosen has struck a discordant note by expressing his unwillingness to go the upper house of the parliament on the ground that he has become a minister for the first time and does not want to move to Delhi at this stage, the sources said.

As per information available from the Assembly secretariat, the ruling party has obtained four out of the nine sets of nomination papers sold on Wednesday. While chairperson of the Western Odisha Development Council (WODC) Padmini Shekhardeo and senior leader Dolagobinda Pradhan have purchased one set each, Progressive Women’s Forum has obtained one. Senior journalist Ramesh Mohanty was one of the three candidates to purchase nomination papers on Tuesday, sources in the Assembly secretariat said.

The architect chosen for the fourth seat is believed to have an excellent rapport with the Congress central leadership. The BJD has zeroed in on him after coming to know that the Congress leadership too is keen to field him, reliable BJD sources said.