The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday nominated former bureaucrat Ashwini Vaishnav as its candidate for the Rajya Sabha bypolls in Odisha. The candidate was supported by Biju Janata Dal (BJD) an ally of BJP from 1998 to 2009. The support has made Ashwini Vaishnav’s win certain.
BJD in a press statement said, following the discussion between Naveen Patnaik and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, the BJD would support Ashwini Vaishnav’s candidature. Vaishnav, a former Indian Administrative Service officer, has also worked in Odisha apart from his association with Vajpayee.
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According to various reports, there are speculations that the BJP could offer BJD’s Bhartruhari Mahtab the post of deputy speaker of the Lok Sabha.
Winning 112 seats in the 146 Odisha Assembly, the BJD could have won all three Rajya Sabha vacancies from Odisha. Supporting Vaishnav brings back the BJP-BJD bonhomie.
Earlier, Naveen Patnaik resigned as legislator from the Bijepur Assembly seat and decided to retain his traditional bastion Hinjli Assembly segment. While retaining his membership from Hinjili, he also conveyed gratitude to the people of Bijepur for showing faith in him. This was the first time that the BJD chief had contested from the Bijepur Assembly seat. Whereas, in Hinjili, he had tasted electoral victory for five straight times. The chief minister has sent his resignation to Odisha Assembly Speaker Surya Narayan Patro.
"Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has resigned from Bijepur Assembly seat and has retained Hinjili Assembly seat. He had contested from two seats- Bijepur and Hinjili- in elections to the State Legislative Assembly," the news agency ANI reported.
The development comes three days after the BJD chief announced several welfare schemes such as piped water supply and Rs 1,330 crore package for pucca houses to 34,000 households having kutcha houses in all the villages of Bijepur Assembly constituency.
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Patnaik, who became the Chief Minister of Odisha for a record fifth consecutive term, emerged victorious from both Hinjili Assembly seat in Ganjam district and Bijepur segment in west Odisha during the recently concluded Assembly elections in the state.
Steering the BJD to a landslide victory, the Odisha chief minister defeated his nearest BJP nominee Pitambar Acharya in Hinjili constituency by 60,160 votes. In Bijepur, the BJD chief had defeated his BJP rival Sanat Kumar Gartia by 57,122 votes. The BJD had won 112 of the 147 Assembly seats in Odisha, which held along with Lok Sabha elections across the state.