Himansu Shekhar Rout

After nominating former Barabati-Cuttack MLA Debasish Samantaray and party’s youth leader Subhasish Khuntia to the Rajya Sabha, speculation is rife about Biju Janata Dal's (BJD) next pick as party leaders are mum on the third nominee. 

While one leader from Jagatsinghpur and the other leader from Puri will represent Odisha in the Upper House, people and party leaders are waiting for supremo Naveen Patnaik's third pick. 

Various circles are busy doing guesswork about the probability of a leader being chosen either from southern or western Odisha. Observers believe that in his usual style of functioning, the BJD supremo and Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik may spring a surprise.

On the other hand, some party leaders pleaded ignorance about the third nominee but said that the Chief Minister can choose anyone he likes.

Also Read | BJD’s Debasish Samantaray, Subhasish Khuntia file Nomination for Rajya Sabha Election

Notably, elections to 56 Rajya Sabha seats in 15 states, including three in Odisha will be held on February 27.

As for the suspense prevailing over the third candidate, BJD MP Muna Khan, said, “Our party president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will decide. It is always said that Naveen Babu springs a surprise at the last minute and nobody can assess it earlier. Nobody had ever thought about the nomination of two leaders (Samantaray and Khuntia).”

Senior BJD leader, Puspendra Singhdeo said, "I have no idea about it. I have no information about it. All will know when Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik declares the name. All should have patience.”