BJD to support NDA nominee for RS Deputy Chair’s post, Cong flays move
Bhubaneswar: The Biju Janata Dal on Monday extended support to NDA candidate Harivansh Narayan Singh in the election for Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman drawing sharp criticism from the Congress, which said the regional party’s true face has been revealed. The election is likely to be held on Monday and BJD president Naveen Patnaik, who is also the Chief Minister, announced the party’s support for the NDA candidate just hours before it.
Naveen announced his party’s support for Harivansh after JD(U) chief and his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar called him up in the morning. Nitish had called Naveen on September 10 too and had requested him to support Harivansh, a JD(U) MP who had filed his nomination on Wednesday.
The BJD had issued a whip to its Rajya Sabha members the next day on September 11 to remain present in the Rajya Sabha throughout the day on Monday as some important legislative business will be taken up on September 14. Nine of the 10 Rajya Sabha members from the State are of the BJD. The BJP has one Rajya Sabha member from the State.
The BJD had in 2018 too supported Harivansh in the election for Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman post. Harivansh had then defeated Congress’s B K Hariprasad and became the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman. The post, however, fell vacant after Harivansh’s term in the Rajya Sabha ended in April, 2020. He has now been re-elected to Rajya Sabha and is contesting again for the same post.
The Opposition Congress has criticised the BJD for its support to Harivansh. “BJD’s real face has again been revealed after it declared support to the NDA candidate for the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman election. BJD has been supporting BJP on all issues and they are one party,” Odisha PCC president Niranjan Patnaik said in a video message. Niranjan accused the regional party of misleading the people of Odisha and said, “The BJD has all along been supporting BJP even though it talks about maintaining equal distance from both the BJP and the Congress.”
In fact, there is no difference between the BJD and the BJP, the OPCC president asserted.