The biennial election to four Rajya Sabha seats from Odisha, among a total of 55 seats from 17 states, will be held on March 26, the Election Commission (EC) announced on Tuesday. While the seat of Anubhab Mohanty fell vacant as he was elected to the Lok Sabha during the 2019 general elections, the terms of Narendra Kumar Swain, Sarojini Hembram and Ranjib Biswal are due to end on April 2 this year.
Given the number in the state Assembly, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is expected to comfortably win three seats. However, all eyes are on the fourth seat as both BJD and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are likely to fight for the seat. While the BJD has 113 members in the House, BJP has 23 and the Congress has nine seats.
The BJD exuded confidence of winning all seats in the Rajya Sabha polls. "We are not under pressure over seat-sharing. The final decision on selection of candidates will be taken by party president Naveen Patnaik which I am sure will be most beneficial for the party. We are confident of winning the four seats," said Pramilla Mallick, BJD chief whip in the assembly.
Senior BJP member and Leader of Opposition Pradipta Kumar Naik said the party would fight for the fourth seat and the candidate would be decided in due time. On the other hand, Congress is unlikely to field any candidate for the Rajya Sabha polls. "Since we have nine members in the House, we cannot alone field a candidate. Congress can field a candidate with support of Left parties. But the decision lies on party's top leadership," said Congress MLA Narasingha Mishra.