Patnaik Announces Four Rajya Sabha Nominations

Four out of 10 Rajya Sabha seats from Odisha will become vacant with effect from next month. To occupy those posts, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has announced nominations from the Biju Janata Dal (BJD). The chosen candidates are Subhas Singh, Munna Khan, Sujit Kumar, and Mamata Mahanta.

The four seats will become vacant due to the completion of tenure of three BJD politicians – Anubhav Mohanty, Narendra Kumar Swain, Sarojini Hembram and Congress member Ranjib Biswal.

Previously, Subhas Singh held the post of chairman of the Odisha Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Board. Munna Khan, a former Janata Dal (JD) leader, was an advisor to the Minorities Affairs department whereas Sujit Kumar was an advisor to the Special Development Council. Mamata Mahanta was a BJD Mahila Wing member from the Mayurbhanj district.

Two of the nominations – Mamata Mahanta and Munna Khan – are seen as attempts by Naveen Patnaik to cater to the OBC and the Muslim minorities. The OBC nomination is an effort to restore the party’s fate in tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj district. Whereas, nominating Munna Khan might be an attempt to appease the Muslim community after BJD supported the Citizenship Amendment Act in Parliament which created mayhem amongst the Odisha Muslim community.

The upper house polls are scheduled to be held on March 26.