Ashwini Vaishnaw Renominated From Odisha As BJP’s Rajya Sabha Candidate

NewsAshwini Vaishnaw Renominated From Odisha As BJP's Rajya Sabha Candidate

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Representatives from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Rajya Sabha from Odisha were nominated on Wednesday by Ashwini Vaishnaw, a federal minister, and L. Murugan, a lawmaker from Madhya Pradesh. Both leaders are expected to re-ascend to the Rajya Sabha with relative ease.

The 56 members of the Rajya Sabha who are retiring in April from 15 states will be replaced on February 27. The deadline for nominations is February 15. Vaishnaw may be able to rely on the support of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) of Odisha to help him win elections from the state. The BJD has sometimes backed the BJP in Parliament. The BJD helped Vaishnaw be re-elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2019.

To support “the larger interest of state’s Railways and Telecom Development,” the BJD issued a short statement announcing its decision to endorse Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw’s candidacy.

Odisha is currently short-handed in the Rajya Sabha, with three seats vacant. Many were wondering if Vaishnaw would run for Odisha as a candidate, given that the BJD has the numbers to fill all three available seats. The third post remains vacant, since chief minister of Odisha and BJD leader Naveen Patnaik has previously nominated candidates for two of the slots.

Just 22 members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) serve in Odisha’s legislature. To be elected to the Rajya Sabha from Odisha, one must get 37 votes. That being said, the support of the BJD will determine Vaishnaw’s fate.

Three more candidates from Madhya Pradesh have been nominated by the BJP, joining Murugan, who is the Minister of State in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. 

There are five unfilled Rajya Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh at the moment. One seat might go to the Congress and four to the BJP. 

Ashwini Vaishnaw is originally from Rajasthan, however he retired from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in Odisha in 2010.

When this year’s April rolls around, Vaishnaw will have served her term as the Rajya Sabha member from Odisha. Although he was a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2019, Vaishnaw was elected to the Odisha Assembly from the BJD. President Naveen Patnaik of the BJD and Chief Minister of Odisha Vaishnaw announced the party’s support for Vaishnaw in 2019 after receiving a request from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

With their support for Vaishnaw, the BJP and BJD are likely to maintain their accord on other matters. Over the last five years, BJD has supported most federal BJP initiatives. While visiting Sambalpur earlier last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Naveen “Mere Mitra” and chose not to criticize him. Naveen’s friend VK Pandian recently made a statement on the friendship and respect shared between Modi and Naveen.

In the June 2019 bypoll, the BJD could have nominated a BJD candidate, but it instead supported Vaishnaw, a BJP candidate. The BJD maintained its support for the railway ministry in the 2019 elections.

Murugan, who is now serving as minister of state for information and broadcasting, is one of five candidates from Madhya Pradesh who have been nominated for the five vacant seats by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Congress may be able to get one seat, but the BJP has the necessary votes to secure four.

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