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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: A notification for holding elections to four Rajya Sabha seats scheduled on March 26 was issued by Odisha Secretariat on Friday. The election is necessitated as the term of RS members – Ranjib Biswal, Sarojini Hembram, Narendra Swain and Anubhav Mohanty from Odisha will end in April.

As per the notification issued by Returning Officer Dasarathi Satpathy, the last date of filling of nomination is March 13.

The scrutiny of the nomination papers will be held on March 16 while the last date for withdrawal of the candidature is March 18.

If required, polling for the four seats will be conducted on March 26, said Satpathy.

Going by the numbers, it will not be a tough task for the ruling-Biju Janata Dal (BJD) to bag three seats. However, all eyes will be on the fourth seat as both BJD and BJP do not have numbers to claim stake.

Under such circumstances, it will be interesting to watch what deal is struck between BJD and BJP who were earlier in an alliance in the State.

Hectic parleys and lobby has begun in the BJD camp and the names of Sujeet Kumar, who is presently Special Development Council Advisor, senior leader Ananag Udaya Singh Deo, former MLA Ramesh Chandra Chaupatnaik are doing rounds. Besides, speculation is rife that BJD may repeat Sarojini Hembrum and also opt for Subhasini Jena.

Many believe that BJD Supremo Naveen Patnaik may sprung up surprise and might give opportunity to some new face. Moreover, the name of Dilip Ray is also doing rounds for the Rajya Sabha battle.

While the ruling-BJD has 113 members in the 147-member House, BJP has 23, Congress has nine, CPI(M) has one and another is an Independent legislator.

BJP has already announced to field candidate for the Rajya Sabha polls even as the saffron party has only 23 MLAs in the Odisha Assembly.

BJP MLA K. Narayan Rao today stated that there is a proposal to field a candidate and rest depends on what decision is taken by the Central leadership.

Senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra, on the other hand, stated that, “We do not have the numbers to field candidate and party high-command will decide on it. As CPI (M) has already announced to stay away from the Rajya Sabha elections, there is no question of fielding a candidate.”

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