Odisha: Unrelenting Congress pushes INDIA bloc to the brink

Sources said state leaders of the Left parties are not happy with the unilateral announcement of candidates by the Congress.
Congress flag
Congress flag(File photo)

BHUBANESWAR: As has been the trend in several other states like West Bengal and Punjab, the INDIA bloc seems to have failed in Odisha. With Congress announcing its candidates for Bhubaneswar and Jagatsinghpur Lok Sabha seats, which were demanded by CPM and CPI respectively, the alliance in Odisha is on the brink of collapse.

Besides, the party has also not left any seat for the alliance partners in the latest list of 75 Assembly candidates announced by it on Sunday for the ensuing election. The alliance talks between Congress and mainly the Left parties in Odisha have not taken off because of the reluctance of the grand old party to cede ground. Though several rounds of talks have been held between the Congress and other constituents, they have failed to hit a common ground.

The Congress has so far announced candidates for 17 Lok Sabha and 124 Assembly seats in two phases for the ensuing elections. In the first list, only two Assembly seats, one for CPM and JMM each, were left by the party. The party is also yet to announce any candidate for Mayurbhanj and Aska seats. While the JMM has already announced its candidate for Mayurbhanj, sources said CPI is also likely to field candidates from Jagatsinghpur and Aska.

Sources said state leaders of the Left parties are not happy with the unilateral announcement of candidates by the Congress. Senior CPM leader Janardan Pati said the party will announce its candidate for Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha seat after a meeting of senior leaders here on Monday. Pati is likely to be fielded from Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha seat by CPM. He will be pitted against sitting BJP MP Aparajita Sarangi, Manmath Routray of BJD and Yasir Nawaz of Congress.

However, president of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee Sarat Pattanayak said the state units of the party do not have any say in seat sharing with INDIA partners. OPCC only informs the central party about the expectations of other alliance partners for Lok Sabha and Assembly seats. It is the central leadership which takes a decision. “We had forwarded whatever discussions we had with the Left parties to the Centre. Decisions are taken by the central party after careful consideration of all aspects,” he added.

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