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Two BJD candidates file nomination for RS polls, suspense over Ashwini Vaishnaw's seat

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Biju Janata Dal candidates for Rajya Sabha Subhasish Khuntia and Debasish Samantray with party president Naveen Patnaik after filining their nomination papers, in Bhubaneswar

Biju Janata Dal candidates for Rajya Sabha Subhasish Khuntia and Debasish Samantray with party president Naveen Patnaik after filining their nomination papers, in Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar: Debashish Samantray and Subhasish Kuntia on Tuesday filed their nomination papers as the ruling BJD candidate for the February 27 Rajya Sabha elections in Odisha.

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Accompanied by BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, ministers and MLAs, the two BJD candidates filed their papers for the election to the Upper House of Parliament.

Samantray is a former BJD MLA while Khuntia is BJD youth wing leader.

However, the suspense continues over the third Rajya Sabha seat as Patnaik on Monday named two candidates. Keeping in view the present strength in the Assembly, BJD is the only party which could win in all the three Rajya Sabha seats to fall vacant in April.

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The three seats will fall vacant in April when the terms of Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw (BJP) and BJD leaders Prasant Nanda and Amar Patnaik will end. In 2019, Patnaik's BJD had supported BJP candidate Vaishnaw, who was elected to the Upper House of Parliament.

Now, speculations have begun whether the Railway Minister can again be the surprise choice of Patnaik. "We are not sure... Patnaik will take the final call in this regard", a senior BJD leader said.

After filing nomination papers, both Samantaray and Khunta thanked Patnaik. They also vowed to work for the interest of the state and fight for Odisha's rights in the Upper House of Parliament.

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According to a notification, the election to the three Rajya Sabha seats in Odisha will be held on February 27 between 9 am and 4 pm on the state assembly premises and counting of votes will take place at 5 pm. The last date for filing of nominations is February 15.

As per the present strength in the Odisha Assembly, BJD has 109 MLAs (four expelled from the party), BJP has 22 members and nine lawmakers belong to the Congress. The House has one Independent MLA and a MLA from CPI(M).

In the 147-member assembly, one seat is vacant following the death of BJD MLA Surjya N Patro.

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