By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, March 9, 2018: Three Biju Janata Dal candidates – Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, Achyut Samanta and party spokesperson Prasanta Nanda, on Friday filed their nomination papers for three Rajya Sabha seats here before the Returning officer at the Odisha Legislative Assembly.

All three of them are set to get elected to the upper house of the Parliament with the ruling BJD having 119 legislators in the 147-member Odisha Assembly.

Chief minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik, several Ministers and legislators of the party were present during the filing of papers.

“I will continue to raise issues related to education and welfare of backward communities since I have been in that field for more than 25 years. This apart, I will also give importance to other issues that the party raises and those which will be in the interest of our State,” Samanta said.

Ama Odisha Party chief Soumya Ranjan Patnaik said, “I will at least try to raise issues which I think needs attention for the long term development of Odisha.”

BJD leader Prasanta Nanda said issues like Polavaram, Mahanadi row, demand for new railway zones, Centre’s negligence towards Odisha which have been our main demands will continue to be our agenda.

Naveen Patnaik said that his party will continue to raise the special category status demand in the Rajya Sabha.

“I am sure that all the three BJD candidates for the Rajya Sabha will speak strongly for the interests of Odisha,” he said.

Earlier, the BJD had nominated both Soumya Ranjan and Achyuta Samanta for Rajya Sabha, barely a few hours after they joined the party on March 7.

The Rajya Sabha elections have been necessitated as the tenures of BJD members AU Singhdeo, Dilip Tirkey and BJD-backed independent candidate AV Swami will expire on April 2.

The nomination papers will be scrutinised on March 13 and the last date for withdrawal of candidature is March 15.

The polling and counting will be held on March 23. The biennial polls to the upper house of Parliament will be held for a total of 58 seats from 16 states including three from Odisha.

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