All the three Biju Janata Dal (BJD) candidates -- Prashant Nanda, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and Achyuta Samanta -- were today declared elected to the Rajya Sabha from Odisha unopposed.
Returning Officer Rajesh Prabhakar Patil announced the names of the elected persons after the deadline for withdrawal of nominations ended this afternoon.
The nominations were scrutinised on March 13, when the papers filed by the lone Independent candidate, Subhas Mohapatra, were found to be invalid as he had failed to arrange for the required MLA proposers.
The opposition parties, the Congress and the BJP, had not fielded any candidate due to their inadequate numbers in the state Assembly.
While the BJD has 118 MLAs in the 147-member Odisha Assembly, the Congress and the BJP have 15 and 10 legislators respectively. As a candidate requires at least 37 first-preference votes to get elected to the Rajya Sabha from the state, the opposition parties had not fielded any nominee.
Three Rajya Sabha seats from Odisha will fall vacant as the tenures of BJD MPs Dilip Tirkey, A U Singhdeo and BJD-backed Independent member A V Swamy will come to an end on April 2.
Nanda and Patnaik received the certificates from the returning officer today after they were declared elected.
Samanta, who was not in the city, would get his certificate of election later.
Patnaik and Samanta had joined the BJD on March 7.
After his election, Patnaik told reporters, “I will raise the key issues related to Odisha's interest in the Rajya Sabha. I will continue with my fight for the cause of farmers, language and prohibition of liquor.”
“I will work as per the instructions of the party and will raise issues related to Odisha in the Rajya Sabha,” actor-turned-politician Nanda said.