Dilip Tirkey
Olympian and former Indian Hockey Team captain Dilip Tirkey
Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Friday said the ruling Biju Janata Dal would be fielding former Indian hockey captain Dilip Tirkey for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls from the state later this month.

The elections for three seats in the state would take place March 30, while the candidates would file their nomination papers March 19. Based on party strength in the state assembly, the BJD can easily win two Rajya Sabha seats. It has 103 members in the 147-member assembly.

Patnaik said the second candidate of his party will be Rabi Mohapatra, a veteran party man from the district of Nayagarh. The chief minister also said his party will not field a third candidate as it does not have the required strength.

Tirkey, who is a veteran defender had announced his retirement two years ago from international hockey citing fitness-related problems.

The former captain, born November 24, 1977, in the state’s Sundergarh district, has come a long way since his international baptism as an 18-year-old.

He has behind him three Olympic Games (Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004), and as many World Cups, Asian Games, Asia Cups, and Champions Trophy tournaments behind him. He was also honoured with the Padma Shri and the Ekalavya award. (IANS)