BHUBANESWAR: The Central Election Committee (CEC) of Congress on Wednesday released its list of candidates for three Lok Sabha and 18 Assembly constituencies in the State.The party nominated senior leader and former finance minister Panchanan Kanungo for Cuttack Lok Sabha seat and Manas Jena for Jajpur Parliamentary constituency. Former MP from Balangir Sarat Patnaik has been fielded from Sambalpur.
Though Congress fielded Prithvi Ballabh Patnaik, son of former Chief Minister Janaki Ballabh Patnaik, from Begunia Assembly seat, the former declined the offer. Earlier, Prithvi had expressed his desire to enter electoral politics and agreed to contest from Begunia which was once represented by his father.
“Prithvi will not be fielded from Begunia as he is unwilling to contest the polls. The party has named Pradeep Sahoo for the seat,” said president of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Niranjan Patnaik.
The OPPC chief, who has been nominated from Bhandaripokhari in Bhadrak district, will also contest from Ghasipura under Keonjhar Parliamentary seat. School and Mass Education Minister and BJD candidate for Ghasipura Badrinarayan Patra had dared Patnaik to contest from the seat. Patra had said that he will win regardless of whoever stands against him in Ghasipura after Patnaik alleged involvement of his supporters in the murder of a political opponent Ramachandra Behera.
On the other hand, accusing the OPCC chief of trading party tickets, Congress nominee for Pipili Yudhisthir Samantaray said he will not contest this election. Alleging that the announcement of his candidature was deliberately delayed, Samantaray said, “The PCC president took money from others and delayed announcement of my name. I cannot organise my campaign within such short span of time.” The Congress has replaced its candidate for Sambalpur Aswini Guru with Dr Aswini Pujahari.
A former Director of VIMSAR, Burla, Pujahari joined Congress last month after stepping down from the post following the controversy over conducting alleged unethical experimental surgeries on poor patients.
The party has made State president of NSUI Itish Pradhan as its candidate for Bhubaneswar-North while Abhishek Mahanada has been fielded from Cuttack Sadar (SC).
Sumitra threatens to quit Mahila Cong chief post
Meanwhile, Odisha Pradesh Mahila Congress president Sumitra Jena has raised a banner of revolt against the party protesting the selection of nominees and under-representation of women candidates in Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies. A ticket aspirant for Bhadrak Assembly seat, Sumitra has threatened to quit from her post if the party failed to consider her demands.
“I have decided not to contest this election and the decision to quit from the party post will be taken after consultations with Mahila Congress leaders and my well wishers,” Sumitra told reporters. Sumitra said she had recommended names of 52 women candidates for the polls.
However, the party has not considered the candidature of most of them. “I don’t think I deserve to stay in the post as a ‘dummy’ president as the party did not feel it important to consult the Mahila Congress during selection pf candidates,” she said. The Mahila Congress chief and her supporters were reportedly manhandled by a group of women workers at Congress Bhawan, the party’s State headquarters, where she was staging a dharna alleging improper ticket allocation.