Bhubaneswar: Social activist Muktikant Biswal on Saturday refused to contest Assembly elections, after the Congress party declared its second list of candidates and picked his name for the Rourkela Assembly seat.
The Congress had named Muktikant as its nominee for the Rourkela seat in its second list of candidates released late on Friday. The list named candidates for two Lok Sabha and 54 Assembly seats.
But Muktikant informed Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Niranjan Patnaik over phone that he will not contest elections. He also thanked Patnaik and AICC president Rahul Gandhi for choosing a slum youth like him to contest the elections.
“I have not applied for the party ticket. I got the news from TV. Rourkela has many experienced Congress leaders. The ticket should be given to one of them. I will continue my fight over two main issues of Rourkela, the second bridge over the Brahmani river and super specialty status to Ispat General Hospital,” Muktikant said.
The Rourkela youth hogged the limelight with his “Delhi Chalo” mission, when he travelled from the Steel City to New Delhi on foot last April to remind Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the promises he had made during his maiden visit to Rourkela.
During his visit on April 1, 2015, the Prime Minister had announced construction of a second bridge over the Brahmani River near Panposh and upgrading of the Ispat General Hospital (IGH) to a medical college and super specialty hospital.
After covering about 1,350 km, he fainted on the highway and was admitted to a hospital in Agra on June 27.
Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram and some local BJP leaders had criticised the 31-year-old and dissuaded him from continuing with his yatra, saying that work on the projects had already started.
After “literally” being driven out of Delhi, Muktikant had embarked on another padyatra to Bhubaneswar to meet Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to raise these demands last July.
Besides the Chief Minister, he had meet Niranjan Patnaik, leader of the Opposition (LoP) Narasingha Mishra and the AICC general secretary in-charge of Odisha, Jitendra Singh.