The Biju Janata Dal on Friday announced that Amit Patnaik and Sasmit Patra will be its candidates for the Rajya Sabha elections, ANI reported. The party also decided to support Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Ashwani Baishnab from Odisha.

The announcements were made by Biju Janata Dal chief and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the party said in a statement. “He also informed, as per discussions with Hon’able Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] and Hon’able Home Minister and BJP National President Shri Amit Shah, that BJD would support the candidature of Shri Ashwani Vaishnav,” the party said.

Baishnab, an IAS officer, had served as a private secretary to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the party said.

The BJP, in a statement, confirmed the Baishnab will be its candidate from Odisha. “The party has decided that Ashwini Baishnab will be the Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidate for the upcoming bye-polls to the Rajya Sabha from Odisha,” a statement by the party said.

The Biju Janata Dal won 112 of the 147 seats in Odisha in the 2019 Assembly elections, while the BJP won 23. This had made it possible for the Biju Janata Dal to win bye-polls to all three Rajya Sabha seats. The bye-polls will take place in July.