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BJD’s Prasanna Acharya likely to be Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman

Bhubaneswar, June 1, 2018: BJD's Prasanna Acharya and TMC MP Sukhendu Sekhar Ray could be fielded for the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman’s post as incumbent PJ Kurien’s terms gets over this month.

Kurien’s term as Deputy Chairman will end this month and elections for the post are likely to be held when the Upper House reassembles for the Monsoon Session.

BJD holds the key in the poll with nine MPs in the Upper House. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has 105 MPs (BJP-69). Now, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman’s election will be next BJP-Opposition battleground after the Karnataka Assembly elections and recently concluded Lok Sabha and Assembly bypolls in many States where BJP bite the dust in front of an united opposition.

Sources said the Congress has reached out to Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD), its arch rival in Odisha, in a desperate attempt to defeat the NDA in the upcoming Deputy Chairman election.

The winning candidate needs 122 votes if all the 245 members vote. The Opposition has 117 votes, if one were to include six members of the former NDA ally Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

Sources said if the BJD comes along with the Congress, the grand old party will cross the majority mark of 122.

Now, all eyes are set on BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, a suave man who barely makes any news until the moment of truth arrives. Patnaik is always claiming that his party is maintaining equidistance from both BJP and Congress.

According to sources Trinamool’s Sukhendu Sekhar Ray could also be fielded for the Deputy Chairman’s post.

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