Naveen Patnaik to back BJP candidate and former Vajpayee aide for Rajya Sabha

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New Delhi | Published: June 22, 2019 5:08:04 PM

Some BJD leaders have expressed surprise over the support extended to BJP nominee.

Naveen Patnaik, bjp, bjd, odisha, odisha cm naveen patnaikNaveen Patnaik

BJD chief Naveen Patnaik has announced his party’s support for BJP candidate Ashwini Baishnab for Rajya Sabha. Informing about the decision, Patnaik said that Baishnab, a former IAS officer from Odisha, has served the state very well. Patnaik has also fielded two party candidates for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections and he will support the third candidate from the saffron party. Baishnab has also served as private secretary to Atal Bihari Vajpayee when he was the Prime Minister.

The BJP announced Ashwini Baishnab’s candidature for Rajya Sabha on Friday. “The party has decided that Shri Ashwini Baishnab will be Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidate for the upcoming by-polls to the Rajya Sabha from Odisha,” the party said in a tweet. A day after the announcement of his candidature, Baishnab joined the saffron party in presence of state president Basant Panda at BJP State Office in Bhubaneswar.

The BJD’s two candidates for the Upper House are the party’s IT cell head and former Principal AG of Odisha Amar Patnaik and party spokesperson Sasmit Patra.

Some BJD leaders have expressed surprise over the support extended to BJP nominee Baishnab. Speaking on this, a senior BJD leader told Indian Express, “We have many senior leaders who had been promised Rajya Sabha seats by the CM because they were not given Lok Sabha or Assembly election tickets. But their cooperation helped us win those seats. It is not clear why we are throwing away a seat.”

In the recent assembly polls, the BJD won 112 of 146 seats and was expected to name candidates for all three Rajya Sabha seats. The BJP, which has 23 MLAs, had earlier admitted that it was not in a position to select someone for the Rajya Sabha.

Meanwhile, Congress has slammed the BJP and BJD and alleged that they have a secret understanding. Congress leader Narasingh Mishra while speaking to IE said that choice of Rajya Sabha candidate and BJD’s support for simultaneous poll clearly proves that the “BJD and BJP have always had a secret understanding”. “In critical moments, they support one another. In public, they abuse each other,” he said.

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