JAGATSINGHPUR: With infighting at its peak and several of its leaders switching sides, the position of Congress has weakened in at least three Assembly segments of Jagatsinghpur Parliamentary constituency.
The party is fast losing its grip on Paradip, Tirtol and Balikuda-Erasama Assembly constituencies with BJD managing to wean away the majority of leaders at the grassroots level. The position of the party’s candidate for Paradip Assembly seat Bapi Sarkhel has weakened after former secretary of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee Pramod Kishore Jena, who was vying for a ticket from the segment along with his supporters resigned from the primary membership of the party and joined BJD. What’s worse is that they have vowed to defeat Sarkhel as a result of which BJD now has an edge.
Ruling party candidate Sambit Routray too was facing the ire of senior BJD leaders. But recently, he was assured all help by the rebels.In Tirtol Assembly segment, Congress has fielded a new face Debi Prasad Mallick, son of former Minister and MP Laxman Mallick. Lack of experience, rapport with voters and dissidence within the party has put Debi in a vulnerable position.
Senior leaders Debendra Mallick and Rajkishore Behera, upset over denial of ticket for the seat have remained away from campaigning. Sources said BJD is eyeing Congress rebels to persuade them to campaign in favour of Bishnu Das, its candidate from the segment.
In Balikuda Erasama seat, Congress has nominated former MLA Lalatendu Mohapatra as its candidate. This has irked ticket aspirants like Sarada Jena who along with his supporters are likely to join BJD soon.
Political observers feel that issues plaguing the grand old party has benefited BJD the most in the district. However, Congress’ position is still strong in Jagatsinghpur Assembly segment owing to the clean image of its sitting MLA Chiranjib Biswal and unity among the local cadres.