IPL chairman defeats BJD&’s mahapatra
Statesman News Service
Bhubaneswar, 7 February
IPL Chairman and Congress candidate Ranjib Biswal outwitted Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and the ruling BJD by winning the Rajya Sabha polls today. The ruling BJD won three seats but failed to muster enough votes to see its sponsored fourth candidate Raghu Mahapatra through.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who had strategies in place to win all four seats and even welcomed two Independent legislators as associate members of the BJD on the eve of the polls failed to read the googly of Ranjib or more appropriately ended up committing a suicidal run out despite the unforeseen support from the BJP legislators.
The BJD sponsored Independent candidate Raghu Mahapatra had the support of both the CPI and the BJP and yet failed to win.
The ‘self goal’ in foot balling terms or the ‘suicidal run out’ in cricketing language was evident as the three BJD candidates – A U Singh Deo, Kalpataru Das  and Ms Sarojini Hembram got more than the required 30 first preference votes leaving Mahapatra short of the numbers. The BJD had inexplicably not used all of its second preference votes for Mahapatra.
Consequently Mahapatra ended up with only 20 first preference votes as against Ranjib&’s 29 ( 27 Congress MLAs and two independents).
For the first time over the since 2000, the election management of the BJD appeared to be disastrous. Each of the three official candidates got 31,32 and 33 first preference votes which meant six excess votes which could have gone to Mahapatra. A BJD vote was reportedly rejected.Had the six been cast in favor of Mahapatra, he could have won after the count of the second preference votes.Two ailing legislators ~  Ramesh Chandra Chau Patnaik (BJD) and Basudev Majhi (Congress)  ~ were carried by special ambulances and on wheelchairs to cast their votes today.BJP MLA Manoj Pradhan who is allegedly missing since yesterday, did not turn up to vote.Of the 147 members, 146 cast their vote. One vote was rejected.
While Ranjib and the Congress had reasons to be overjoyed, the BJD was left licking its wounds as it had botched up the arithmetics to see Mahapatra through.
The BJP was equally exposed. Its eleventh hour decision imposed by the central party to defeat the Congress failed.
The six BJP legislators were reportedly against the central party dictate of voting against the Congress. The legislators were of the view that they should maintain equi distance from the Congress and BJP, hence abstention would be politically correct.But BJP central party leaders put their foot down and directed the state legislators to vote in favor of Mahapatra. The central party felt that this would also keep the door open for the BJD to return to the NDA fold.
According to reliable sources the BJP MLAs blamed the central party leadership which they suspected was guided by a RS MP Dharmendra Pradhan.
State BJP president K V Singh Deo lambasted the BJD for the defeat of Mahapatra and alleged that the BJD had ‘betrayed’ the candidate by joining hands with the Congress.Why did the BJD MLAs give six additional votes to their three official candidates, he asked. Singh Deo said the BJP MLAs had all voted for Mahapatra. The BJD has a political track record of backstabbing and it has repeated the same in the case of Mahapatra, he charged.