BHUBANESWAR: The Biju Janata Dal on Monday extended support to JD(U) candidate Harivansh Narayan Singh in the election to the post of Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar again spoke to his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik.
Naveen announced the decision after receiving the call from Nitish Kumar. Nitish had dialed Naveen on September 10 and had requested him to extend BJD’s support to the JD(U) candidate for the post. A day later, the BJD had issued a whip to its Rajya Sabha members to remain present in the House on September 14, the first day of the monsoon session of Parliament. The BJD has nine members in the Rajya Sabha.
The BJD had supported Harivansh in the last election for the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman in 2018. The post fell vacant after Harivansh’s term in the Upper House expired on April 9 this year. He has since been re-elected to the Rajya Sabha. Harivansh will contest against Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) candidate Manoj Jha.
Meanwhile, Congress has criticised the BJD for extending support to the BJP led NDA candidate in the election. “Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s decision to support the NDA candidate has again exposed the tacit understanding between BJD and BJP,” president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Niranjan Patnaik said.