Odisha Polls: What Makes Cong To Delay Its List Of Candidates?

Bhubaneswar: The delay on the part of the Congress to announce its candidates for dual elections in Odisha has given rise to speculations that the party is facing an uphill task to select suitable candidates to regain the lost grounds.

Both ruling BJD and main opposition BJP have come out with their partial lists of candidates for Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. While the BJD has already released its nominees for 15 Lok Sabha and 72 Assembly seats out of total 147, the BJP has declared its contestants for 18 Lok Sabha seats out of the total 21 in the state.

On the other hand, the Congress continues to defer the announcement. The grand old party’s state election campaign committee chairman Bhakta Charan Das told the media that it would release the list in first week of April. OPCC president Sarat Patnaik said the exercise for selection of candidates was being carried out by Central leaders in Delhi as per their strategy and the party would announce its nominees for all 147 Assembly seats at a time.

Though the party’s state leadership put up a confident face about their prospects in the hustings, its handicaps are discernible. Evidently, the Congress is finding it tough to nominate candidates who can stand upto high voltage campaign by their counterparts from BJD and BJP.

It is also speculated that the Congress was planning to use the disgruntled leaders from BJD and BJP who would jump the wagon after being denied tickets in case of an alliance between the two parties. With the alliance failing to take off, the Congress is now hard pressed to take the final call on its nominees.

Dogged by internal strife and dwindling popularity with the rise of BJD, the Congress has come down to third position with the strength of elected leaders narrowed down to single digits. In such case, finding a leader suitable for electoral battle has become all the more tough.

Besides, faced with further erosion in the Congress’ popularity post election, many leaders are deserting the party for greener pastures. Be it Adhiraj Panigrahi or Surendra Singh Bhoi, the exodus from the sinking boat continues, much to the headache of state leadership.

Under the circumstances, the Congress has to bank upon its traditional vote bank. Here also, the party does not look to stand on stable ground as the new voters far outnumber the fast receding old supporters.

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