Ending all speculations, ruling BJD president Naveen Patnaik today announced the name of Pratap Keshari Deb as the party’s candidate for the lone Rajya Sabha seat from Odisha. Patnaik also announced the name of Pradip Kumar Amat as the Speaker of the Odisha assembly.
“Biju Janata Dal candidate for the Rajya Sabha will be Sri Pratap Keshari Deb, and the Speaker will be Sri Pradip Kumar Amat,” Patnaik, also chief minister, told reporters on his return from a four-day tour to New Delhi.
The lone Rajya Sabha seat from Odisha was lying vacant after Bishnu Charan Das resigned as the member of the Upper House on on March 21 this year. Das’ term of office would have ended on July 1, 2022.
Deb, presently BJD spokesman and chairman of the Odisha State Housing Board, had lost the assembly elections in 2014 from Aul segment. He will file nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha elections by May 15. Taking BJD’s strength of 117 MLAs in the House of 147 member into consideration, Deb is most likely to be elected to the Upper House of the Parliament as the BJD candidate.
With Patnaik announcing name of Deb as the BJD candidate for Rajya Sabha election, speculation over Gita Mehta (Naveen’s sister) being sent to the Upper House came to an end. Though Patnaik had earlier clarified that his sister was not interested in any political position, the media was agog over Gita Mehta’s name.
Meanwhile, the Speaker post of the Odisha Legislative Assembly was laying vacant since Niranjan Pujari resigned on May 5. Pujari has now become a minister during the ministry reshuffle held on May 8. Amat, who resigned as the finance and health minister, was Speaker of the OLA from 2009 to 2014. The election for the Speaker post will be held on May 16.