BHUBANESWAR: After successful completion of the three-day Jana Jagaran Yatra of the Congress in Balasore district, the party is all set to move to Western Odisha in next phase to launch its mass contact programme.The yatra is likely to be launched in Balangir district within a week to cash in on the party’s growing base in the area. Besides Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Narasingh Mishra, several senior leaders from the district have won elections in the past as Congress candidates.
Mishra is the sitting MLA from Balangir Assembly constituency. In the Pradesh Election Committee (PEC) meeting held last week here, the party had decided to renominate all the sitting MLAs.Though the list of party candidates from Balangir district is yet to be announced, sources said several leaders have been asked to prepare ground in their constituencies for next elections. While former president of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Sarat Patnaik has emerged as a front runner for party’s Lok Sabha ticket, several other leaders including former MLAs Santosh Singh Saluja and Surendra Singhbhoi are touring their Assembly constituencies extensively.
While Singhbhoi was elected to the Assembly twice from Saintala in 1995 and 2000, he represented Titlagarh in the Assembly in 2009. Singhbhoi was defeated in the 2014 elections by Tukuni Sahu of BJD from Titlagarh constituency. Saluja was elected from Kantabanji Assembly constituency thrice in 1995, 2000 and 2009. Saluja was defeated by Ayub Khan of the BJD in 2014 Assembly Elections.
Sources said the yatra will travel to all the gram panchayats in Balangir district to win the confidence of the people for the Congress. Besides, party leaders will make the people aware about the unfulfilled promises made by the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre and the BJD Government in Odisha.
Party leaders are hopeful that the yatra will unite different factions in the party ahead of the 2019 Elections. All the senior leaders of the party, including OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik, working president Chiranjib Biswal and former union minister Srikant Jena, had participated in the three-day yatra of the party in Balasore district.