Arch rivals BJP-BJD join hands to elect Ashwini Vaishnaw to RS from Odisha

This is second time both parties joining hands to re-elect Vaishnaw

Bhubaneswar: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which has got only 22 members in Odisha Legislative Assembly on Wednesday sprang a surprise as it nominated Union railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw as its candidate for the upcoming Rajya Sabha election in Odisha.

What is more surprising is that the saffron party has once again managed to get support from its arch rival Biju Janata Dal (BJD) to see its candidate through in the elections.

As per the current effective strength of the present Odisha Legislative Assembly, a candidate needs at least 37 (36.51) votes to get elected.

Soon after the BJP announced Vaishnaw as its official candidate, BJD president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik issued a letter to the media declaring his party’s support for him.

In his letter, the CM said the BJD supported the BJP Rajya Sabha nominee for the state’s railways and telecom development.

“Biju Janata Dal will support the candidature of Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union minister, railways, communication and technology for the larger interest of state’s railways and telecom development,” read the CM’s stamen issued in party letterhead.

The unusual phenomenon of the rivals BJD and BJP joining hands to get Vaishnaw elected did not go down well with the Congress, the second major opposition in Odisha Legislative Assembly. The grand old party’s state president Sarat Pattanayak said the unusual bonding between the BJP and BJD reflected the “tacit understanding” to “loot” the state’s natural resources.

“Nowhere in the world have political rivals joined hands so brazenly. In June 2019, the BJP and BJD had joined hands to send the same Ashwini Vaishnaw to Rajya Sabha. Now, they have just replayed the same bonding. The secret behind their bonhomie is that they want to do mining business together in the state,” said the PCC president Pattanayak.

When the curious journalists wanted the state BJP president Manmohan Samal’s reaction on what actually prompted the BJD to support their candidate, he said, “Just go and ask the CM Naveen Patnaik. We never asked them to support our candidate. If somebody or party gives us a vote, how can we stop them?

Earlier, the BJD had announced the names of Debashish Samantaray and Subhasish Khuntia as its nominees to the Rajya Sabha. However, the ruling party had not announced its third nominee.

Meanwhile, Ashwini Vaishnaw on Wednesday reached Odisha on a two-day visit to the state. Speaking on his candidature for the Rajya Sabha election, Vaishnaw said, “I am a disciplined worker of the BJP. The party takes all decisions of my public life. I am grateful to PM Narendra Modi for giving me the opportunity to serve again.”

Rajya Sabha elections are scheduled to be held on February 27.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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