BJD to back A B Swamy for RS polls

Bhubaneswar: Noted Bhudan movement leader A B Swamy will get the support of the ruling BJD for the March 30 Rajya Sabha elections. "I think prominent Bhudan leader A B Swamy will be the correct Independent candidate for the Rajya Sabha polls in Odisha," BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told reporters here.

Besides working in Odisha, Swamy was active in Bhudan movement in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, Patnaik said adding that he had contribution in setting panchayat institutions in the state. Swamy, who hailed from Odisha`s Nuapada district, was closely associated with Naveen`s father and former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik. On Friday Patnaik had announced the name of former Indian hockey captain Dilip Tirkey and senior leader Rabi Mohapatra as its Rajya Sabha candidates for two of the three seats.

The BJD supremo had also said the party would not field candidate for the third post as it did not have required number. "As we do not have the assurance of support of NCP and the lone CPI member in the assembly we will not be fielding a third candidate," Patnaik had said.

When contacted, the leader of the NCP legislature party Amar Satpathy, however, said that none including BJD had sought for the party`s support. "How can we extend support when BJD has not asked for it?" Satpathy said. While the ruling BJD has 103 members in the 147-member assembly, there are four NCP and a CPI members in the house. Congress has 27 members and BJP has six. There are also three Independents.