Naveen springs surprise, to support BJP candidate for Rajya Sabha

Bhubaneswar: Utter chaos and confusion prevailed after Odisha Chief Minister & BJD president Naveen Patnaik announced its party candidates for the upcoming Rajya Sabha by-elections.

The confusion surfaced over the candidature of Odia IAS officer Ashwini Baishnab whom the BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik initially named as the party candidate for Rajya Sabha along with Sasmit Patra and Amar Patnaik.

However, the BJP had earlier tweeted announcing Baishnab as its candidate. “The party has decided that Ashwini Baishnab will be Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidate for the upcoming bypolls to the Rajya Sabha from Odisha,” the tweet from the official handle of the BJP read.

However, soon after the goof up, the BJD supremo came out with a clarification to clear the confusion.

“I think there was some confusion over Ashwini Baishnab. The Prime Minister spoke to me and so did the Home Minister; we will support the candidature of Ashwini Baishnab, who was the private secretary to late PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee,” clarified Patnaik.

Speaking to OTV, Ashwini Baishnab said, “I am grateful to PM Narendra Modi, Home Minister and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik for giving me another chance to serve Odisha. I will work for Odisha’s interest in Delhi.”

BJD’s Amar Patnaik thanked CM Naveen after being named party’s Rajya Sabha candidate.

BJD’s spokesperson Sasmit Patra also thanked party supremo and said, “I will try me best to do my duties and will raise the issues concerning Odisha.”

After denied Rajya Sabha ticket, senior BJD  leader Prasanna Patsani said, “I am an old worker and never failed to do my duties. I am hurt but will not quit the party.”

It is pertinent to mention here that three seats in the Council of States or Rajya Sabha from Odisha have fallen vacant following the resignation of BJD leaders- Achyuta Samanta, Pratap Keshari Deb and Soumya Ranjan Patnaik necessitating the by-election.

While Samanta resigned after being elected to the 17th Lok Sabha, Deb vacated the Rajya Sabha post on June 9 after getting elected to the 16th Odisha Legislative Assembly.

Patnaik also resigned as an RS member on June 6 after being elected to the Odisha Legislative Assembly.

While Samanta’s term expires on April 3, 2024, Deb’s Rajya Sabha tenure is till July 1, 2022. On the other hand, Patnaik’s term will also continue till April 3, 2024.