BJP says "no" to Congress and BJD in Rajya Sabha polls

BJP would like to maintain equidistance from Congress and BJD in the ensuing Rajya Sabha elections likely to be held next month.

Bhubaneswar: Though it supported Congress in nailing the BJD government in Orissa over the multi-crore mining scam, BJP would like to maintain equidistance from both
the ruling party and the main opposition in the ensuing Rajya Sabha elections likely to be held next month.

"We will like to keep distance from the BJD as well as Congress," BJP state president Jual Oram told a news agency while airing his views on possible united opposition candidate for the Rajya Sabha polls.

Sensing that the ruling BJD could capture all the three seats in Rajya Sabha which are falling vacant, leader of opposition from Congress, Bhupinder Singh had floated an idea
of giving a united candidate at least to get one opposition member elected to the Upper House.

Though Oram said "no to BJD and the Congress", he added that the state leadership would like to consult the central BJP in this regard.

Election to three Rajya Sabha seats was required
as the three sitting MPs, one each from BJD, Congress and BJP,
were completing their terms on July 1.

The MPs whose tenure comes to an end on July 1 were:
Pyarimohan Mohapatra (BJD), Bhagirathi Majhi (BJP) and
Radhakanta Nayak (Congress).

In the 147-member Orissa assembly, the ruling BJD had
103 members followed by Congress (27), BJP (six), NCP (four),
CPI (one) and six independent members.

With changing equations in the assembly, now the BJD
was sure to capture two seats as a candidate required 37 first
preference votes each to win.

As the party had a strength of 103 MLAs, its two
candidates would easily get support of 74 members while its
third candidate required eight more votes.

"We have NCP and CPI as supporting parties. Therefore,
our third candidate can get five votes easily," said party`s
general secretary and agriculture minister Damodar Rout adding
that the BJD candidate would require three extra votes which
could come from among the six independent MLAs.

The opposition Congress and BJP, facing the propsect
of losing one seat each in the Rajya Sabha after July 1, were
however, contemplating a united candidate for the third seat.

"The Congress has 27 MLAs while six members come from
BJP. Togehter, the opposition make 33 votes requiring only
four supports which can come from Independents," a senior
Congress leader said.

Of the six independent MLAs, two MLAs - George Tirkey
and Braja Pradhan - could support the Congress candidates
while Pratap Sarangi from Nilgiri would go with the BJP`s
decision, he said.

Therefore, only one vote was require for the united
opposition candidate, they calculated.

Independent MLA from Champua, Jitu Patnaik who keeps
cards close to his chest, was likely to be the deciding
factor, if the opposition succeeded in putting up a united


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