Bhubaneswar: The Biju Janata Dal’s Rajya Sabha candidates – Parliamentary Affairs and Panchayatiraj Minister Kalpataru Das, Minister of State for Handlooms, Textiles and Handicrafts Sarojini Hembram, former minister A U Singhdeo- and ruling party backed Independent candidate Padma Vibhusan Raghunath Mohapatra on Tuesday submitted their nomination papers to Assembly secretary for the Rajya Sabha biennial elections.
BJD’s official candidates are sure to fill up three seats in the Upper House while for the fourth seat it is going to be a neck to neck battle as Congress’ Ranjib Biswal and BJD-supported Mohapatra are lacking required number of votes.
Biswal filed his nominations papers with the presence of top Congress leaders and as many as twenty legislators today.
If the BJP, with 7 MLAs including one independent, supports Raghunath, the stone sculptor will have 25 votes. Moreover, if Independent lawmaker Rajendra Sahu and CPI’s Adikand Sethi back Mohapatra, the number will touch 27, requiring three more votes to touch magic number 30.
As per poll calculations, with 29 votes, Biswal is currently going ahead of Mohapatra. Besides its 27 MLAs, the Congress has the support of two Independents in the Assembly.
The Congress, to take its tally to 30 and get its candidate elected, is also counting on the support of George Tirkey, the Independent MLA from Biramitrapur.
At this juncture, all eyes are on the cross-voting politics which may act as the game-changer at the last moment.