Hours after inducting media baron Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and social entrepreneur Achyuta Samanta into its fold on Wednesday, the Biju Janata Dal announced their names among its three candidates for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls.The third nominee, announced by the Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik, was veteran actor and party general secretary Prasanta Nanda.Earlier in the day, Mr. Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and Mr. Samanta joined the BJD at Naveen Nivas, the Chief Minister’s residence, in the presence of many Ministers and senior leaders of the party.Numbers in favourThe election of the three BJD candidates to the Upper House will be a smooth affair since the party has the advantage of having 117 legislators in the 147-member State Assembly. The Rajya Sabha elections are scheduled for March 23.The tenure of three members in the Upper House — A.U. Singh Deo and Dilip Tirkey of the BJD and BJD-supported Independent A.V. Swami — is coming to an end on April 3.Mr. Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, son-in-law of former Chief Minister J.B. Patnaik, heads Eastern Media Limited that runs prominent Odia daily Sambad, Odia news channel Kanak TV, FM radio station Radio Choklate and Eastern Opera with six Jatra troupes.He had unsuccessfully contested against former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik as a BJP nominee in Bhubaneswar Assembly seat in 1995. Later, he quit the BJP and was elected to the Lok Sabha from Bhubaneswar constituency in 1996 on a Congress ticket.Mr. Samanta is the founder of Bhubaneswar-based Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences and several other institutions. Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences provides free education with accommodation and food to thousands of tribal students.Kalinga TV founderHe is also the founder of Odia news channel Kalinga TV, which is run by Kalinga Media and Entertainment, a unit of KIIT Group of Institutions.The joining of Mr. Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and Mr. Samanta in the BJD assumes significance as it comes close on the heels of suspension of Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda from the primary membership of the party. Mr. Panda’s wife, Jagi Mangat Panda, is a promoter of Odisha Television Limited which runs Odia news channel OTV.