BHUBANESWAR: Three members of the ruling BJD on Friday filed nomination papers for the upcoming election to Rajya Sabha likely to be held on March 23. Three seats from the state are falling vacant on April 3.
BJD leaders Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, Achyuta Samanta and former minister Prasanta Nanda submitted their papers to the returning officer in the presence of the chief minister and president of the regional party Naveen Patnaik.
Editor of a leading vernacular daily Patnaik and founder of KIIT and KISS Samanta had joined the BJD on March 7.
"All the three members will speak strongly in the interest of the State in the Upper House," the chief minister said after the filing of nominations.
Naveen said his government will persist on its demand for a special category state for Odisha. "We have been demanding special category State status for Odisha since long and we are doing so again," Patnaik told reporters.
With more than two-thirds majority, the BJD has 118 members in a house of 147 and is comfortably placed to elect all three members to the Upper House. The Opposition Congress and BJP have 15 and 10 members respectively in the Assembly and they are unlikely to field their candidates.
The last date for filing nomination papers for the polls is March 12. Scrutiny of papers will be held on March 13 and March 15 is the last date of withdrawal of nomination. If needed, the election will be held on March 23.
Three seats of Rajya Sabha from the state will fall vacant as the tenure of AU Singhdeo, Dilip Tirkey and AV Swami (Independent) is ending on April 2.