BHUBANESWAR: Controversy over ticket distribution in Congress refuses to die down even after filing of nominations for the final phase of elections ended on Tuesday.As many leaders voice their dissent over ticket distribution and revolt within the party leading to last minute exodus for greener pasture, a peculiar situation has emerged in Dharmasala Assembly seat where fate of two Congress candidates hangs in balance even after filing nominations.
Though the two candidates filed their papers before the returning officers claiming to be “official” Congress candidates, none have produced the party ticket.The AICC had first cleared the name of Smruti Rekha Pahi for Dharmasala on April 2 and she filed her nomination for the seat on April 6 as the party candidate. However, the party replaced her with Kishan Panda on April 7.
After failing to collect party ticket from Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Niranjan Patnaik, Panda filed his nomination on Tuesday claiming to be the official candidate of the party. While Panda is hopeful of producing the party ticket at the time of scrutiny, non-submission will lead to rejection of nomination papers of both the candidates.The Congress has already received a setback as nomination papers of its candidate for Jayadev seat Sukanta Tiadi Bhoi were rejected by the returning officer during verification.
Meanwhile, in the line of fire from party leaders over alleged favouritism in distribution of tickets, the OPCC chief washed his hands off the matter saying candidate selection was a collective decision.Claiming that not a single candidate has been fielded on his recommendation, Patnaik said the resentment is natural as the party stuck to its decision of fielding new faces. “We have made it clear from the beginning that new faces will be fielded in the elections this time. We have given tickets to 83 new candidates out of 139 Assembly seats which the party is contesting this time,” Patnaik said.
The OPCC chief, who is contesting from two seats and has fielded his son Navajyoti Patnaik from Balasore Lok Sabha constituency, said, “It is not possible to accommodate all the aspirants. It is obvious for those who did not get party tickets to vent their anger on me,” he said and added that many of these disgruntled Congress leaders are selfish as they only think of their own interest.