After Odisha Congress announced names of candidates for 54 Assembly constituencies and 2 Lok Sabha seats, it has been witnessing widespread internal feud taking place because of resentment among party cadres for denial of ticket to their favoured candidates.
Party cadres created ruckus at Congress headquarters in Bhubaneswar to oppose issuing of assembly seat of Ekamra-Bhubaneswar to Rashmi Mahapatra instead of their favoured candidate Amir Mohammed. In a video that has been reported by media, supporters can be seen destructing party office and computers, furniture etc in the office.
Opposing the Congress decision to field Rashmi Mohapatra from Ekamra-Bhubaneswar Assembly seat, supporters of ticket aspirant Amir Mohammed ransack property at Congress Bhawan in #Bhubaneswar #Odisha pic.twitter.com/YUIoaGC7NS
— OTV (@otvnews) March 23, 2019
Two groups of the party at Nilgiri in Balasore district also clashed where the supporters of Chittaranjan Sadangi have been opposing candidature of Manoja Manjari Devi, a member of the royal family there. Manoja Devi was not allowed to exit a meeting attended by her and was only released when she raised slogans in favour of the disgruntled workers’ leader Chittaranjan Sadangi. However, Manoja Devi has stated that she will lodge a complaint against Sadangi, for the incident to Congress leadership.
Similarly, in Jharsuguda some Congress workers locked the party office to protest the issuing of a ticket to former bureaucrat Mahendra Nayak. Workers have also threatened of non-cooperating with Nayak in the polls. In a district level meeting chaired by Biren Senapati, former president of Rourkela district unit, Congress workers opposed the candidature of Muktikanta Biswal.
Jhasurguda seat was won by Naba Das since 2009. But, he switched sides recently to BJD, hence the Congress party had to scramble for a new candidate.
Opposition chief whip Tara Prasad has expressed protest over the declaration of Saptagiri Ulka, son of former Congress minister Ramachandra Ulakafrom, from Koraput parliamentary constituency. He wanted his close aide and three-time councillor Prafulla Batra as a candidate from Lok Sabha seat.
The internal feud in the party can cost the Congress party, which has been fighting for its existence in the state since 2000, dearly as the Lok Sabha and assembly elections inch closer in the state. The party in addition to this has also been facing an exodus of its leaders to the opposition camp, weakening the party’s strength.
The assembly elections in the state will be held concurrently with General elections in four phases: April 11,18,23 and 19.