18 March 2019
Bhubaneswar: As the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today began announcing the names of its candidates for the nine out of the total 21 Lok Sabha seats and 54 out of the total 147 assembly seats in Odisha, there is possibility of four Rajya Sabha seats of this State quota lying vacant as its respective members might resign to contest the upcoming general elections.
Announcing the first lot of candidates, BJD supremo-cum-Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today named sitting Rajya Sabha member Achyut Samant as the party candidate for Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat. Hence, Samant is obviously relinquishing one Rajya Sabha seat representing Odisha.
Likewise, Patnaik also named sitting Rajya Sabha member Prasanna Acharya as the party candidate for Bargarh Lok Sabha seat. Hence, Acharya is also relinquishing another Rajya Sabha seat representing Odisha.
Even though there is no official announcement of their candidatures, insiders hinted at two other Rajya Sabha members from the ruling BJD. They are Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and Pratap Kehari Deb.
While Pratap had been sent to Rajya Sabha uncontested on May 18, 2017, Soumya Ranjan and Samant were sent together along with their Odisha counterpart Prashanta Nanda on March 23 last year.
However, Pratap Keshari Deb and Soumya Ranjan Patnaik are likely to contest assembly poll, sources informed.
Soumya Ranjan had been Bhubaneswar MP once as a Congress candidate. He was elected to 11th Lok Sabha from Bhubaneswar (Lok Sabha constituency) on Congress ticket in 1996. He has also lost the Khandapara assembly seat in the 2014 as Aama Odisha Party (AOP) chief after expulsion from Congress. He is likely to contest the assembly seat as per the choice of the BJD supremo.
So far Pratap Deb’s case is concerned, he had been a minister in Naveen Patnaik’s cabinet after the 2009 elections. He has been Aul assembly MLA (under Kendrapara Lok Sabha seat) thrice (12th, 13th and 14th Odisha Legislative Assembly) as a BJD candidate. However, he lost the assembly seat in 2014 to Congress. He is also likely to contest an assembly seat as per the choice of the BJD chief.
Till rest of the Lok Sabha seats and assembly seats are announced by BJD, it is to be waited and watched, poll pundits viewed.