Bhubaneswar: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday said it will abstain from voting for the Rajya Sabha poll in Orissa as it wants to maintain equal distance from both the ruling Biju Janata Dal and the Congress party, a BJP leader said.
"We will abstain from voting to keep equal distance from BJD and Congress," BJP`s state unit president Jual Oram told a news agency.
The state has three vacancies upcoming in the upper house of parliament with BJD`s Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, Congress`s Radhakanta Naik and BJP`s Bhagirathi Majhi completing their tenures July 1.
BJD has re-nominated Mohapatra for the poll to be held June 17, besides fielding Sashi Bhusan Behera, a former legislator, and Baishnab Parida, the party`s general secretary, for the other two seats.
In the 147-member assembly, BJD has 103 members, Congress 27, BJP six, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) four, and the Communist Party of India one. There are six independent members.
BJD can ensure Mohapatra and Behera`s election on its own strength as each require 37 first preference votes.
However, it has to obtain the support of eight other members to get Parida through. The NCP has already announced its support to the BJD candidate.
BJD would have faced trouble had the Congress and BJP joined hands and put up a united candidate to win the third seat by seeking the support of independents. "The BJP`s decision to abstain from voting came as a relief for us. It will be easy for us to win the third seat also," a senior BJD leader told IANS.