SAMBALPUR: Intra-party squabbling and race for leadership seem to have left the Congress clueless in the State. Going by the panchayat election trends, the Congress has managed to win majority only in Jharsuguda to form the Zilla Parishad there. In other districts, it has been a miserable performance.
The party has failed to open its account in five Western Odisha districts of Sambalpur, Bargarh, Deogarh, Sonepur and Boudh.
The Congress base in Western Odisha started to erode after 1980’s when second rung leaders were groomed by the State leadership of the party. There was race to prove supremacy and the same people remained in power for long.
Years later, the situation has not changed much. It has only worsened in the Congress camp. The party is not only struggling to stay afloat in the region but is also fighting to regain its lost glory.
The party has lost mass support base and people have virtually written off the Congress, barring some areas which are the old bastions of the party. The dalits, tribal and elderly who were voters of the Congress have shifted loyalty after being ignored and overlooked for long. And the void and discontentment among the people helped BJD and BJP make inroads into Congress bastions.seats from none in 2012. Similar is the scene in Sonepur where BJP captured 10 ZP seats out of 13 against nil account in 2012.
In Deogarh, BJP has grabbed six out of seven ZP seats while in 2012, BJD had all seven ZP seats in its kitty. The performance of the Congress was dismal in Kalahandi and Balangir, which has two top leaders leading the party - Bhakta Charan Das and Narasingh Mishra. Congress bagged two ZP seats each in the two districts.
On the contrary, Congress is going to form the ZP in Jharsuguda under the leadership of District Congress Committee president and MLA Naba Kishore Das.
Reacting to the poor performance of Congress, Naba Das said intra-party communication was at its lowest ebb and the leaders failed to reach out to the people and apprise them about the falsehood behind the promises of BJD Government.