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Bhubaneswar: Election process for the ensuing Rajya Sabha polls began here on Tuesday with formal notification issued for filing of nomination papers.

"The candidates can file their papers till January 28 from today. If more than four candidates file nomination papers, then elections will be held on February 7," Odisha Legislative Assembly (OLA) secretary A K Sarangi said.

Sarangi, who is also the Returning Officer for the Rajya Sabha elections, said the scrutiny of the nomination papers would be held on January 29 while the date of withdrawal of nominations is on January 31.

The elections for the four Rajya Sabha seats is required as equal number of the Upper House MPs are completing their tenure on April, 2014.

The Rajya Sabha MPs whose tenure would be completed are: Balbir Punj (BJP), Ramachandra Khuntia (Congress) and Mangala Kisan and Renubala Pradhan of BJD.

Meanwhile, hectic lobbying has started within the ruling BJD for Rajya Sabya (RS) nominations as several leaders accompanied by their workers thronged Naveen Niwas, the chief minister's residence, and submitted their applications to be candidates for the Upper House.

While a group lobbied for Jayadev Parida, a senior BJD leader from Nabarangpur, deputy chairman, Planning Board, Surendra Nath Nayak made it clear that he too was interested to go to the Upper House.

Former Union Minister K C Lenka said he has written a letter to the Congress President Sonia Gandhi seeking a party ticket for the Rajya Sabha elections.

The BJD is set to grab three of the four vacant Rajya Sabha seats. Naveen Patnaik's party has 108 MLAs in the 147-member Odisha Legislative Assembly. While, BJD candidates will easily get three seats, its fourth candidate has to arrange few votes from opposition parties.

The opposition Congress has 27 MLAs while BJP's strength in the assembly is only 6.

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