Bhubaneswar: Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Monday named three candidates for the Feb 7 Rajya Sabha elections in the state.

Panchayati Raj Minister Kalpataru Das, Textiles Minister Sarojini Hembram and former minister Ananga Udaya Singh Deo will be the party candidates for three of the four vacant seats in parliament’s upper house, a senior BJD leader told IANS.

The party has also decided that it will back eminent architect and sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra for the fourth seat, for which no party has the required numbers.

Elections would be held to fill up the four Rajya Sabha seats in the state as the terms of Ramachandra Khuntia of Congress, Mangala Kissan and Renubala Pradhan from BJD and Balbir Punj of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will end April 2.

The Congress, meanwhile, said it will field Ranjib Biswal, a former member of the Lok Sabha from Jagatsinghpur, for the fourth seat to take on Mohapatra.

The BJP has yet to make its stand in the matter clear.

In the current state assembly, the BJD has 107 members, the Congress 27, and the BJP six. The Communist Party of India (CPI) has one member. There are six independents in the house.

The BJD, which has the support of an independent legislator, can win three seats on its own strength.

The filing of nominations began Jan 21, and would continue till Jan 28. The scrutiny of nomination papers will be held Jan 29, while the last date for withdrawal of nominations is Jan 31.

Source: IANS