Ashwini Vaishnaw on Data Protection Bill

BJP’s Vaishnaw gets BJD backing for Rajya Sabha seats in Odisha amidst political speculation

Bhubaneswar: In a significant political development ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections in Odisha, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has nominated Ashwini Vaishnaw, the Minister of Railways, Communications, Electronics & Information Technology, as its candidate for three Rajya Sabha seats from the state. This move comes amidst a flurry of reactions from various political quarters, particularly from the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the opposition Congress party.

The announcement from the BJD, led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, has raised eyebrows as the party declared its support for the BJP candidate, Ashwini Vaishnaw. In a press release issued by the BJD, it stated that the decision to support Vaishnaw’s candidature was made in the interest of the state’s development, particularly in the sectors of Railways and Telecommunications.

This gesture of support from the BJD towards a BJP candidate is not entirely unprecedented. In 2019, Ashwini Vaishnaw was elected to the Rajya Sabha with the backing of the BJD, indicating a history of cooperation between the two parties on certain issues.

However, the state BJP president, Manmohan Samal, was quick to address any speculations about a potential alliance between the BJP and the BJD in the future.

He emphasized that while political support is welcomed, there are no plans for a formal alliance between the two parties.

Samal’s remarks were echoed by his confidence in Vaishnaw’s candidacy, expressing certainty in his victory in the upcoming elections. He asserted that the BJP is prepared to contest independently if necessary.

Meanwhile, the Odisha Congress has criticized the BJD’s decision to support the BJP candidate, alleging a covert alliance between the two parties. Ajoy Kumar, the state in-charge of the Congress, took to social media to voice his concerns, implying collusion between the BJP and the BJD in their actions.

The upcoming Rajya Sabha elections in Odisha are scheduled for February 27, with polling taking place between 9 am and 4 pm. The counting of votes will follow immediately after at 5 pm, determining the fate of candidates vying for the coveted seats in the Upper House of Parliament.