Exit polls spark revolt in Odisha Congress

Disapproving Rout’s statements, Bahinipathi said it unfortunate to blame a person in anticipation of poor performance by the party ahead of announcement of results.

Published: 23rd May 2019 08:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd May 2019 08:27 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR:  With the Exit polls predicting a dismal show by Congress in Odisha, an open revolt has broken out in the party with some senior leaders becoming vocal against the State leadership for its inept handling of the simultaneous elections to Assembly and Lok Sabha.

While senior Congress leader and former minister Jagannath Patnaik resigned from two party posts protesting the style of functioning of the leadership and its failure to define a clear electoral strategy, another leader Sarat Rout launched a frontal attack on Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Niranjan Patnaik for failing to lead the party in the right direction before the elections.

With Patnaik virtually conceding defeat well before the announcement of poll results, the two senior leaders did not spare the OPCC chief for lack of coordination in the party and his inability to enthuse the workers before the elections. “The State leadership did not allow the party to move forward the way AICC president Rahul Gandhi had visioned,” they alleged. 

Rout, a known critic of Patnaik, lashed out at the OPCC president for his failure to take the Nyunatam Aay Yojana (NYAY) scheme to the people. “As president of the party’s State unit, he (Niranjan) has disappointed Congress workers, candidates and betrayed Rahul Gandhi. He will be responsible for the party’s poor performance,” Rout said. 
If the party is not going to perform well, it is precisely due to lack of coordination, poor organisational structure and large-scale irregularities in ticket distribution, he added.

Admitting that ticket distribution was mired in controversy and several leaders quitting Congress just before the polls had a demoralising effect on party workers, sources in the party said Rout has no moral right to complain as he had been given ticket despite his repeated defeats in the past elections. 
“It is a fact that the various committees constituted for handling the elections did not do their job. Activities of Congress Campaign Committee chairman Bhakta Charan Das, who was contesting from Kalahandi Lok Sabha seat, was limited to his constituency while core committee chairman Jayadev Jena remained confined to Anandapur Assembly segment,” the sources said. 

Coming to the defence of the OPCC chief, Tara Prasad Bahinipati, who is trying his luck from Jeypore Assembly seat, said, “The party has done a lot for Sarat Rout. Despite losing elections several times in the past, he still holds significance in the party. Action should be taken against him for his comments.” 
Disapproving Rout’s statements, Bahinipathi said it unfortunate to blame a person in anticipation of poor performance by the party ahead of the announcement of results.


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