Bhubaneswar: Three BJD MLAs, IPL Chairman Ranjib Biswal and master sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra were among eight persons who filed their nomination papers here for the February seven Rajya Sabha elections. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was present when three BJD candidates, Panchayati Raj minister Kalpataru Das, Textile minister Sarojini Hembram and former minister AU Singhdeo filed their papers as BJD candidates. Accompanied by Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Jaydev Jena and party MLAs, Biswal sumitted two sets of papers at the office of Assembly secretary.Though one Rajya Sabha candidate required support of at least 30 MLAs, the Congress has 27 members. Therefore, Biswal has to secure three more votes to win the polls.
Independent MLA Braja Pradhan has announced his support to Biswal. Biswal was trying to secure the support of two other Independents Jitu Patnaik and George Tirkey. “I am confident of winning the polls. Independent MLAs will support me,” Biswal told reporters after filing his papers. OPCC president Jaydev Jena said that he was confident that Biswal, who was an experienced politician and a cricketer, would win.
BJD supported Independent candidate sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra also filed his papers. Mohapatra would get support of only 18 BJD MLAs after the ruling party’s 90 MLAs vote for its official candidates. “I have been assured by the BJP leadership that their six MLAs along with one Independent MLA Pratap Sarangi will support me,” claimed Mohapatra.
BJP, however, was yet to announce support to Mohapatra. While BJD’s three official candidates were confident of going to the Upper House of Parliament, there would be a fight between Biswal and Mohapatra for the fourth seat. Four Rajya Sabha MPs, two from BJD and one each from Congress and BJP, were completing their tenure in April. Three Independent candidates also filed their nominations on the last day.