Cong in Dilemma Over 4th Rajya Sabha Seat - The New Indian Express

Cong in Dilemma Over 4th Rajya Sabha Seat

Published: 26th January 2014 09:47 AM

Last Updated: 26th January 2014 09:47 AM

In a dilemma after BJD announced support for renowned sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra as an Independent candidate for the fourth seat, the State unit of Congress is yet to decide on its next course of action for the Rajya Sabha polls.

 Sources said that the Congress high command is yet to decide on Odisha though president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Jaydev Jena was at New Delhi on Saturday. A senior leader of the party, however, said that the Congress before announcing its decision is waiting for the BJD to announce its three official candidates.

  Congress has 27 members in the Assembly and needs three more to win a seat. However, fear of cross voting is holding the party back from announcing its decision. The party is also divided on whether to field a candidate for the fourth seat.

  Besides, there is also lack of interest among the party leaders to contest the Rajya Sabha polls. No senior leader except Dolagobind Pradhan has expressed keenness to contest the Rajya Sabha polls.

  Meanwhile, sources in the BJD maintained that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is likely to announce the three official candidates of the party either on Sunday evening or Monday morning. The three seats are likely to go to senior leaders from Western, Southern and Coastal Odisha.

Though the names of several leaders are doing the rounds as probable Rajya Sabha candidates of the BJD, nobody is sure of what decision the Chief Minister has taken in this regard.

  The four Rajya Sabha MPs from the State, whose terms will end on April 2, are Ramachandra Khuntia of Congress, Mangala Kissan and Renubala Pradhan from BJD and Balbir Punj of the BJP.

  In the current Assembly, the BJD has 107 members and the Congress 27, the BJP six, the CPI one while there are six independent members. The voting would take place on February 7. Filing of nominations  would continue up to January 28. The scrutiny of the nomination papers would be held on January 29 while the date of withdrawal of nominations is  January 31.

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