Shah Calls Naveen

In a development that could embarrass the BJP in Odisha, its National President Amit Shah was among the leaders who called Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and sought BJD support for the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman elections.

Though, the State BJP has been fighting against the Governing BJD with its full strength and leave no opportunity to attack the regional outfit. The saffron party President made no hesitation to seek Naveen’s help.

Interestingly, the Biju Janata Dal took no time to make the phone call from Mr.Shah Public.

Sources said, BJD Spokesperson Sasmit Patra in an official statement declared that Amit Shah and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh called Chief Minister Mr.Patnaik and sought his help.

The BJD also revealed name of JD-U President and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and NCP leader Sharad Pawar, who also telephoned Naveen seeking support for the August 9 elections.

JD(U) President and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was the first to call Patnaik seeking the BJD's support for his party candidate Harivansh Narayan Singh in the election to the post, a BJD leader said.

Mr.Patnaik, the BJD President, will take a decision on the party's stand in the matter tomorrow.

Sources said Mr.Pawar has requested Mr.Patnaik to support the opposition's candidate in polls. The Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha will be elected on August 9.

BJD has nine members in the Rajya Sabha. Support of the Odisha's regional party in the ensuing poll would not be crucial as the NDA nor the UPA have clear majority in the Upper House of the Parliament.

The current strength of the Rajya Sabha is 244 and support of 123 Members is required for a candidate to win the polls.

The BJD, headed by Mr.Patnaik, has been claiming that the regional party maintained equal distance from both the Congress-led UPA and the BJP-led NDA.

"BJD's nine votes is considered as crucial for both the fronts," a senior party leader, adding that Mr.Patnaik would take the final decision tomorrow in this regard.

Recently, Mr.Shah had praised BJD for its support in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) issue. The BJD was the only political party other than the BJP which had supported the NRC.

Earlier, the BJD had also supported the NDA during the presidential elections, demonetization, GST and other issues.

The post of the Deputy Chairman, RajyabSabha, is lying vacant since July after retirement of PJ Kurien.

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