Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday received calls from leaders across the political spectrum for his party’s support in the election to the post of Rajya Sabha deputy chairman, with the callers including BJP chief Amit Shah, NCP’s Sharad Pawar and Nitish Kumar of JD(U).
The leaders telephoned Patnaik. The Odisha chief minister is in Mumbai for a meeting with captains of the industry tomorrow, BJD sources said.
JD(U) president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was the first to call Patnaik seeking the BJD’s support for his party candidate Harivansh Narayan Singh in the election to the post, a BJD leader said.
Biju Janata Dal (BJD) spokesman Sasmit Patra said Patnaik, the BJD president, will take a decision on the party’s stand in the matter tomorrow.
“Apart from Kumar, BJP president Amit Shah, NCP leader Sharad Pawar and Union Minister Rajnath Singh called Patnaik seeking the BJD’s support for the August 9 elections,” Patra said.
Sources said Pawar has requested Patnaik to support the opposition’s candidate in polls. The deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha will be elected on August 9.
BJD has nine members in the Rajya Sabha. Support of the Odisha’s regional party in the ensuing poll would be crucial as neither the NDA nor the UPA have clear majority in the Upper House of the Parliament.
The current strength of the Rajya Sabha is 244 and support of 123 members is required for a candidate to win the polls.
The BJD, headed by Patnaik, has been claiming that the regional party maintained equal distance from both the Congress-led UPA and the BJP-led NDA.
“BJD’s nine votes is considered as crucial for both the fronts,” a senior party leader, adding that Patnaik would take the final decision tomorrow in this regard.
Recently, Shah had praised BJD for its support in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) issue. The BJD was the only political party other than the BJP which had supported the NRC.
Earlier, the BJD had also supported the NDA during the presidential elections, demonetisation, GST and other issues. The post of the deputy chairman, Rajya Sabha, is lying vacant since July after retirement of PJ Kurien.