Monday, November 29, 1999

BJD sweeps RS polls in Orissa

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Bhubaneswar, Jun 17 (PTI) BJD today swept the Rajya Sabha elections in Orissa as all the three seats were won by the ruling party while an independent nominee backed by Congress and BJP lost. While BJD''s first two candidates - sitting Rajya Sabha member Pyari Mohan Mohapatra and former MLA Sashi Bhusan Behera - secured 37 first preference votes each, the party''s third candidate Baishnab Charan Parida got 36 votes. Independent candidate and prominent industrialist Tara Ranjan Patnaik bagged 33 votes. Of the 144 votes polled in the 147-member assembly, one was rejected and another was not counted in view of a dispute relating to violation of election procedure allegedly by an NCP MLA. The rejected vote was suspected to have been cast by a Congress MLA. Of the 27 Congress MLAs, 25 voted in favour of the independent candidate while two remained absent. Of the six BJP MLAs, five cast their votes while Bonai legislator Bhimsen Choudhury abstained. Denying claims by BJP leaders that he was abducted by BJD men, Choudhury told reporters, "I decided to abstain as I did not want to vote for Tara Ranjan Patnaik as per the whip issued by the party." Reacting to Choudhury''s statement, BJP state vice- president Ashok Sahu said disciplinary action could be taken against him. .

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