BHUBANESWAR: The nine-member Congress Legislature Party (CLP) is going to play a major role in elections to the four vacant Rajya Sabha seats from Odisha from which BJD members resigned after winning in the recently held Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. The ruling BJD with 112 members in the Assembly does not have adequate numbers to win all the four seats on its own and will need the support of Congress MLAs.
The BJP, which has 23 members in the House, is unlikely to field a candidate as the numbers will be inadequate for a win. As Rajya Sabha polls are going to be held within next six months, speculation is rife here as to what course of action the BJD will adopt to ensure a win for all its four candidates. Besides, the decision of BJP will also be keenly watched in this regard. It remains to be seen whether the saffron party will take a chance by fielding a candidate or leave the field open for the BJD.
After 12 of the 18 Congress MLAs joined Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS), doubts have cropped up whether the ninemember CLP in Odisha can remain intact till the Rajya Sabha elections. Acute factionalism has again come to the fore in the State Congress after the elections in which the number of MLAs dwindled from 16 in 2014 to nine now. Sources maintained that some of the Congress MLAs are trying to cross over to the ruling BJD as a bleak future stares at them with a very little chance of revival of the grand old party in Odisha soon.
Such a development will also be advantageous for BJD for the Rajya Sabha polls. The BJP is also not likely to remain a silent spectator in view of its better performance in Odisha in the recentlyconcluded Lok Sabha polls. In this background, the meeting between president of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Niranjan Patnaik and former leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra at the latter’s residence here has fuelled speculation. Mishra, however, said nothing substantial was discussed in the meeting.