BJP to abstain from RS poll in Orissa

Efforts to put up a common candidate by opposition parties for the Rajya Sabha elections in Orissa suffered a jolt today with BJP deciding to abstain from the entire poll process.

Bhubaneswar: Efforts to put up a common
candidate by opposition parties for the Rajya Sabha elections
in Orissa suffered a jolt today with BJP deciding to abstain
from the entire poll process.

"BJP has decided not to take part in the Rajya Sabha
polls. The party will abstain from the entire process as we
want to maintain equi-distance from both ruling BJD as well as
opposition Congress in the state," state BJP President Jual
Oram said here.

The party, which has six members in the 147-member
assembly, would also not extend support to any independent
candidate in the biennial elections, Oram said on the eve of
final day for filing nomination tomorrow for three Rajya Sabha
seats due to fall vacant from July one.

Stating that the decision against supporting an
independent candidate along with Congress was taken as the
party was keen to weaken UPA at the Centre, senior BJP leader
Ashok Sahu said all the six BJP MLAs and independent member
Pratap Sarangi, a former partyman, would abstain from voting.

BJP`s decision came in the midst of marathon
discussion by Congress Legislature Party (CLP) to work out
strategies for the elections.

BJD`s sitting Rajya Sabha member Pyari Mohap
Mohapatra, former MLA Sashibhushan Behera and party General
Secretary Baishnab Charan Parida have already filed their

Though BJD lacks required number in the assembly to
win all three Rajya Sabha seats, it has fielded three

Congress leaders, however, fear horse-trading in
the polls saying BJD`s third candidate does not have adequate
first preference votes from within the party.

While BJD`s Mohapatra and Behera are sure to win, its
third candidate Parida required at least eight more first
preference votes for victory in the polls.

Each Rajya Sabha candidate required at least 37 first
preference votes in the 147-member assembly to win.

BJD has 103 members, followed by Congress (27), BJP
(six), NCP (four), CPI (one) and six independent members.

While BJD`s first two candidates could easily secure
37 votes each (total 74), its third candidate could get
maximum of 29 votes from within the party.

Although NCP has announced its support to the ruling
party cndidates, BJD`s third candidate still requires support
of four more MLAs.


Left to contest 150 assembly seats in Bihar: Bardhan

Patna: CPI general secretary A B Bardhan on Sunday
claimed that Left parties would contest 150 out of 243
assembly seats in Bihar during the elections due in October-
November this year.

Bardhan told reporters here at the party headquarters that
the party had identified 50 seats which it could "win on its
own strength" and said that the party in alliance with other
Left parties including CPI(M), CPI-ML(liberation), RSP and
Forward Bloc would contest 150 assembly seats in a bid to
stall the NDA from forming the next government in Bihar.

Talks for a total Left alliance were on, Bardhan said
adding the Left parties would come on a common platform to
take on the might of the NDA.

He, however, said that the CPI would take a final decision
about aligning with the RJD-LJP combine in Bihar Assembly
elections in consultation with other Left parties but till
date "it is clear that the Left parties would contest 150
assembly seats in the event of left alliance being finalised."

In the event of left alliance not taking place, the CPI
would contest the Bihar polls on its own strength and contest
50 seats, Bardhan said winning ability would be the main
criteria for giving party tickets to the candidates.

Bardhan said the CPI, after consulting other Left
parties, would launch a statewide land liberation struggle for
the distribution of an acre of agricultural land and a certain
quantity of homestead land among five lakh landless families
in Bihar.

Flaying the Nitish Kumar government for failing to
distribute the `Bhoodan` land and land in excess of Ceiling
Act among the the landless by allegedly disregarding the
recommendations of D Bandhopadyaya Commission that was set up
by Kumar himself, Bardhan said the left parties would soon
launch an agitation in Bihar for the implementation of land
reforms measures.

He appealed the other left parties to join the CPI`s
crusade for the implementation of land reforms.

"A Left unity would emerge out of struggle of land
reforms, which can prove beneficial for the Left in the
upcoming assembly elections," Bardhan claimed.

Asked about the party slogan: "land belongs to the
tillers", Bardhan said the party workers would not capture the
land by force but put up `Lal Jhanda` (red flags) on the
excess lands of the landlords.


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