BJD jittery, Congress hopeful in south - The New Indian Express

BJD jittery, Congress hopeful in south

Published: 13th September 2013 10:14 AM

Last Updated: 13th September 2013 10:45 AM

Even as Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik rounded up his two-day election tour of southern districts, Congress seems to be in a comfortable position despite lack of a proper campaign machinery.

The thin attendance in the election meetings addressed by the Chief Minister in Koraput, Nabarangpur and Rayagada districts is giving jitters to the local BJD leaders in-charge of different urban local bodies (ULBs) in these areas. A senior BJD leader from the area said when the Chief Minister was visiting earlier, there used to be huge crowd, but this time people did not show interest. The Congress is putting up a tough fight in many of the ULBs of the area including Koraput, Kotpad, Rayagada, Gudari and Umerkote.

Unpopularity of the local BJD leaders may be one of the reasons for the people’s lack of interest in the party this time. However, nothing can be predicted as yet because of the well managed election machinery of the ruling party compared to the Congress which is suffering from lack of resources as well as going through intense infighting at the State level.

Sources said the Chief Minister was quite unhappy with the local BJD leaders because of thin attendance at many places and asked them to renew efforts to woo the voters.

A team of Congress leaders, including former chief minister Giridhar Gamang, former MP Hema Gamang, president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Jaydev Jena and secretary of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge of Odisha Subhonkar Sarkar had campaigned in the area till Wednesday.

However, infighting in the Congress has come to fore again at this critical juncture with several senior leaders openly challenging the style of functioning of the OPCC president.  The OPCC president is alleged to have not taken anybody into confidence besides not constituting a campaign committee for the ULB polls.  Many senior leaders have not shown any interest in the campaign for the party as a result of which BJD will have a walkover in many places in coastal districts.

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