Bhubaneswar: All the four BJD candidates were on Wednesday elected to the Rajya Sabha unopposed as opposition BJP and Congress did not field any nominee for the polls scheduled to be held on March 26.
Odisha Assembly Secretary-cum Returning Officer for the Rajya Sabha polls, Dasarathi Satpathy announced election of the four BJD candidates- Subhas Singh, Munna Khan, Sujit Kumar and Mamata Mahanta.
The announcement came after the time for the withdrawal of nomination papers came to an end at 3 pm. Satpathy also handed over certificates to the victorious BJD candidates at the state Assembly.
Though four Independent candidates had filed nomination papers, their candidature were rejected for not having the required 10 MLAs as proposers.
While the Congress could not field any candidate as it lacked at least 10 proposers to back its nominee, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hesitated to contest the Rajya Sabha polls as it has only 23 members in the state assembly, while a candidate required at least 29 first-preference votes to win the election.
While the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has 113 MLAs in the 147-member House, the BJP has 23, followed by nine of the Congress and one of the CPI(M). There is also an Independent legislator.
Under such circumstances, the ruling BJD's nominees comfortably got elected to the upper house of Parliament.
While Singh, an OBC, is a trade unionist, Khan, a party old-timer and comes from the Muslim community. Kumar, who was an adviser to the Special Development Council, is a general category candidate and hails from Kalahandi district.
Similarly, Mahanta is a BJD women's wing member from Mayurbhanj district.
Earlier, the Odisha unit of BJP had made it clear that it would not put up its candidate for the polls as it lacked required numbers. Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik had also announced that none of his nine party MLAs would take part in the RS polls. Similarly, the CPI(M) had said that its lone MLA in the Odisha Assembly would not participate in the Rajya Sabha elections.
In the last Rajya Sabha polls, all the three candidates from Odisha- BJP’s Ashwini Vaishnaw, BJD’s Amar Patnaik and Sasmit Patra were elected unopposed to the Upper House.
(With PTI inputs)