Himansu Shekhar Rout

Even as the haze over the Biju Janata Dal (BJD)’s third Rajya Sabha nominee is yet to be cleared, the visit of Union Railways Minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw to Odisha has triggered speculations about the possibility of his nomination again to the Upper House.  

Vaishnaw was the joint nominee of the BJP and BJD to the Rajya Sabha in 2019. 

As per reports, the Union Railway Minister is coming to Odisha on a two-day visit starting from tomorrow. Though some programmes have been scheduled on February 14, he has no specific programmes on February 15, the last date for nomination filing for Rajya Sabha. This has given credence to the speculation, even though both parties have not yet given any indications.

Senior journalist, Sandeep Mishra said, “Such speculation is rife now about his possible nomination to the Rajya Sabha, even though both parties have not indicated about it. All know that in 2019 after the BJP announced Ashwini Vaishnaw’s name as the RS nominee, the BJD supported him. Besides, it is known to all that Vaishnaw shares good relationships with some top leaders of the BJD.”

However, Odisha BJP’s Vice President, Biranchi Tripathy said that the BJD can answer why they have not declared the names of three RS nominees.

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“There is deep discontent in BJD and even standing MLAs are resigning from the party. The ruling party thinks that nominating the third leader to the RS may be difficult because of the disgruntled legislators. Besides, the BJP as a responsible party has its eye on the situation. Only the BJP’s parliamentary board will finalize who will be nominated,” Tripathy added.                      

Political observers said that the much-touted equidistance policy of the ruling party is likely to be questioned if Vaishnaw is nominated by both BJD and the BJP.

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