Bhubaneswar: While four incumbent Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Rajya Sabha members of Odisha have won in the Lok Sabha elections, countdown has now begun as to who would be sent to these vacant posts of the Upper House of Parliament on behalf of the BJD.
Six BJD RS members, Anubhav Mohanty, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, Prasanna Acharya, Achyuta Samanta, Sarojini Hembram and Pratap Deb, contested in the Lok Sabha or Assembly elections. While Mohanty and Samanta have won the Kendrapada and Kandhamal Lok Sabha seats, respectively, Patnaik and Deb grabbed the Khandapada and Ali Assembly seats in that order. Acharya and Hembram were defeated.
During ticket distributions, BJD supreme Naveen Patnaik had reportedly assured three leaders, Prasanna Patsani, Ramesh Chandra Chyaupatnaik and Anup Sai, of Rajya Sabha berths. Meanwhile, many heavyweight leaders, who failed to win the elections, have also joined the race and, thus, the number of RS aspirants has increased.
The leaders who are in the race include Sanjay Dasburma, Arup Patnaik, Rabindra Jena, Maheshwar Mohanty, Debashish Samantray and Nalini Kanta Pradhan. The name of BJD IT Cell chairman Amar Patnaik, who was not fielded in the general elections, is also doing rounds.
While the RS seats held by Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and Achyuta Samanta have a tenure of five years, the ones held by Anubhav Mohanty and Pratap Deb have less than one year and three years, respectively.
If the number of BJD MLAs of the upcoming 16th State Assembly is taken into consideration, the BJD can send three candidates to the Rajya Sabha directly and the fourth seat might need election.