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  India   All India  15 Jul 2019  Congress drifts aimlessly after double loss

Congress drifts aimlessly after double loss

THE ASIAN AGE. | AKSHAYA KUMAR SAHOO
Published : Jul 15, 2019, 3:42 am IST
Updated : Jul 15, 2019, 3:42 am IST

Patkura is going to polls on July 20 and counting of votes will take place on July 24.

Odisha PCC chief Niranjan Patnaik (third from left) and other senior leaders at a party meeting before elections.
 Odisha PCC chief Niranjan Patnaik (third from left) and other senior leaders at a party meeting before elections.

BHUBANESWAR: Having slipped to an unwanted third spot in Odisha in the last Assembly and Lok Sabha polls held simultaneously in Odisha, the Congress ship in the state seems to drifting aimlessly without being guided by the Central leaders.

Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Niranjan Patnaik resigned from his post on May 24 owning moral responsibility for the party’s poor show in the polls. Though no decision has been taken on his resignation since Congress national president Rahul Gandhi has also resigned, Mr Patnaik has stopped discharging his day-to-day responsibilities.

Party’s Odisha-in-charge Jitendra Singh, who kept himself away from election process in the state to contest the Lok Sabha polls in his home state Rajasthan, has also seemingly remained silent after the elections and is taking no interest in streamlining the party activities.

The disinterest of the state Congress leaders to reorganise after their drubbing in the twin polls for the Lok Sabha and Assembly in the state is clearly evident from the fact that the party is yet to launch its campaign for the high-profile Patkura Assembly constituency in Kendrapara.

When the ruling BJD and BJP are taking the Patkura polls as a battle of prestige to prove that they have the trust of the people, the state Congress leaders have not yet decided as to who would lead the party in the constituency.

The ruling BJD has landed over 200 leaders, including over 100 MLAs and 10 ministers to defeat Bijoy Mohapatra, chief minister Naveen Patnaik's arch rival for the last 20 years.

Patkura is going to polls on July 20 and counting of votes will take place on July 24. Election for the seat was countermanded following death of BJD nominee Bed Prakash Agrawal.

The BJD has fielded Bed Prakash’s wife Sabitri Agrawal for the seat.

Apart from Patkura, bypoll will be held for the Bijepur Assembly seat in Bargarh district as the chief minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik who was contesting from two seats vacated it to retain Hinjli in Ganjam district.

While the PCC chief keeps himself away from poll preparation, other senior leaders like Bhakta Charan Das who was made party's campaign committee chairperson; and PCC acting presidents Pradeep Majhi and Chiranjib Biswal also appear to be still sulking after their humble defeats in the Assembly polls. These leaders have not appeared in public since the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections results were out.

In the 2019 Assembly elections, the Congress in Odisha has got decimated to its lowest-ever figure since the first elections in 1952. It just got nine of the 147 Assembly seats and one of the 21 Lok Sabha seats.

Former Union railway minister and veteran Congress leaders Kanhu Charan Lenka blames party's present leadership and senior leaders for lacking the spirit to take on the ruling BJD. He also complains that some top leaders indulged in sabotage.

“The Congress would have posted better results had our leaders worked together. Some leaders considered the party their own family and did not consult with other potential members on how a spirited fight can be given to the BJD. The result was obvious and we were pushed from the second position to the third spot in state politics,” said Mr Lenka.

Tags: niranjan patnaik, rahul gandhi
Location: India, Odisha, Bhubaneswar