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BJD announces four Rajya Sabha candidates, chooses tribal leader over royals in western Odisha- Mrit News

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The outgoing MPs are N. Bhaskar Rao, Prasanna Acharya, Sasmit Patra and Subash Singh. Patra has been renominated by the party

The outgoing MPs are N. Bhaskar Rao, Prasanna Acharya, Sasmit Patra and Subash Singh. Patra has been renominated by the party

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Sunday announced names of four candidates for the upcoming Rajya Sabha election.

The party has renominated Sasmit Patra for the second time. The BJD, which has 113 MLAs in 147-member house, is comfortably placed to send three members to the Upper House unopposed. Meanwhile, election for the fourth seat will be held if the Bharatiya Janata Party or the Congress decides to field to any candidate.

However, both the parties do not have requisite numbers to back any candidate. Therefore, the fourth candidate is also expected to easily sail through the upcoming election.

The four candidates are Mr. Patra, Manas Ranjan Mangaraj, a former journalist, Niranjan Bishi, a tribal activist, and Sulata Deo, the party spokesperson. The outgoing MPs are N. Bhaskar Rao, Prasanna Acharya, Sasmit Patra and Subash Singh.

Mr. Singh had to resign because he contested the Cuttack local body elections and elected as the Mayor of the Cuttack Municipal Corporation in March this year. The election for the Rajya Sabha will be held on June 10.

Sasmit Patra, an academician having doctorate degree in management, is known as an eloquent speaker and has proven himself by participating in different discussions in Rajya Sabha. As spokesperson of the party, he has been aggressively presenting BJD’s point of view. The BJD lacks leaders who can defend the party in different fora in New Delhi. Mr. Patra is considered appropriate candidate to fit into the slot.

Mr. Mangaraj, a former journalist of local daily, has been in-charge of party’s media wing. His coordination with media houses during COVID-19 pandemic has won him trusts of party leadership.

Sulata Deo, another party spokesperson, has been rewarded for her long association with the party.

The surprise face in BJD’s list of Rajya Sabha candidates is Niranjan Bishi. Mr. Bishi has not compromised his position as a leader who highlights cause of tribals. Mr. Bishi hails from Balangir district and has been in forefront of various demonstrations against government policies. In the last panchayat election, he led protest against the manner in which seats were reserved in election to three-tier panchayati raj institutions.

The selection of Mr. Bishi also indicates that the BJD is no more interested in continuing its traditional association with erstwhile royals of Balangir. A. U. Singh Deo, a former minister and Rajya Sabha member, and his son Kalikesh Singh Deo, a former Member of Parliament, have been sidelined.


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