Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, June 21:
Odisha chief minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik today named former minister AU Singhdeo and former Congress leader Bhupinder Singh, who had joined the BJD days before the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections held in April, as party candidates for the two vacant Rajya Sabha seats.
The elections, if required, would be held on July 3.
However, it is not immediately clear who would fill which of the two seats. It may be noted here that while one seat is valid for the next two years, the tenure of another is for four years.
AU Singhdeo was elected to the Rajya Sabha ahead of the general elections but had to quit and contest the Bolangir Assembly seat, which he finally lost. However, his son Kalikesh Singhdeo won the parliamentary polls and was elected from the Bolangir Lok Sabha seat for the second time.
Bhupinder Singh’s story is entirely different. The former Leader of Opposition in the Assembly and senior Congress leader took his party and people at large by surprise when he jumped sides and joined the ruling party at a time when the process for the general elections 2014 was on. He did not contest the Assembly polls and was apparently promised a ticket to Rajya Sabha, as a prize for reducing the main opposition party to a laughingstock at an opportune moment.
Both Singhdeo and Singh are from western Odisha,