Odisha Rajya Sabha Elections: All Woman Candidates Talk Fuels Fresh Speculation In BJD

Bhubaneswar: Even as the nomination process for election to Rajya Sabha from Odisha began on Tuesday, speculation is rife that BJD would field women candidates in at least three of the four vacant seats.

Monday’s statement of BJD vice-president Usha Devi that priority will be given to women in candidate selection has added credence to it. “The party had fielded woman candidates in large numbers in panchayat and urban local body elections and it won’t be surprising if the BJD president selects women for three vacant seats,” she said.

Notably, the term of Rajya Sabha members Prasanna Acharya, N Bhaskar Rao and Sasmit Patra will end on July 1 while a vacancy has been created with the resignation of Subhas Singh, who was elected as Mayor of Cuttack. The BJD is in a position to win all four seats as it has a strength of 112 members in the Assembly. The Opposition BJP and Congress are unlikely to field candidates.

The power corridors are abuzz with the names of OTDC Chairperson Srimayee Mishra and ‘Mo School’ Chairperson Susmita Bagchi. The party, going by discussions within BJD, might consider renominating Sasmit Patra, who was quite active during his stint in the Upper House.

The name of Pradeep Majhi is also doing the rounds. Majhi, who quit the Congress and joined the BJD a few months ago ahead of the panchayat and urban polls, is a tribal leader from southern Odisha.

The Rajya Sabha polls are scheduled for June 10.

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