Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Feb 6:
Congress candidate Ranjib Biswal’s pitch appears to be well and truly queered in the election to the Rajya Sabha election tomorrow. In what could tilt the scales decisively in favour of the BJD backed independent candidate Raghunath Mohapatra in the battle for the fourth seat, the state BJP is all set to cast its lot with the renowned sculptor.
Reliable party sources say that a decision to this effect has been taken by the central leadership to ensure that the strength of the Congress, its main rival at the national level, does not increase in the parliament.
Arun Singh, co-in-charge of the state BJP has already conveyed the decision of the party’s parliamentary board to all party MLAs this evening, the sources said.
Though the seven party MLAs, including Independent MLA Pratap Sarangi , have reservations about extending support to Mohapatra, they are likely to abide by the decision of the central leadership, they said.
The party, however, is yet to make the decision official. Asked about the BJP stand on the Rajya Sabha polls, Singh said; “We have discussed the matter with the MLAs and informed them of the decision of the Parliamentary board. Now the ball is in the MLAs’ court.”
The decision to support Mohapatra has proved once again that for all the raving and ranting by state unit leaders against the Naveen Patnaik government, the BJP central leadership is keeping the doors wide open for a possible understanding – post-poll, if not pre-poll – with the BJD supremo.