After long wait, Congress declares first list for LS, assembly polls in Odisha

After long wait, Congress declares first list for LS, assembly polls in Odisha

Days after rival parties, the BJD and the BJP, announced the names of their candidates for the Lok Sabha and assembly elections, to be conducted in Odisha simultaneously, the Indian National Congress declared its first list for eight Lok Sabha and 49 Assembly constituencies.

The BJD had announced 15, 72 candidates for the Lok Sabha and the assembly while the BJP released the list of candidates for all 21 Lok Sabha seats. The saffron party on Tuesday announced the first list of 112 candidates.

Prominent candidates fielded by the Congress for the Lok Sabha polls include Saptagiri Ulaka. He will contest from the Koraput parliamentary seat, which he represents in the current Lok Sabha.

Besides, former Union minister Bhakta Charan Das, and State Congress President Sarat Pattanayak, the sitting MLAs Santosh Singh Saluja and Tara Prasad Bahinipati have been nominated for the Assembly polls on party tickets.

Sanjay Bhoi, Janardan Dehury, Manoj Mishra, Draupadi Majhi, Bhujabal Majhi, Amir Chand Nayak, and Rashmi Ranjan Patnaik have also been nominated for contesting the LS polls.

The assembly and Lok Sabha elections in the coastal state will be held simultaneously in four phases on May 13, 20, 25 and June 1. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) with 12 seats bagged the maximum number of seats, followed by the BJP with 8 and the Congress with one seat.

In the last assembly elections, held simultaneously with the general election in 2019, the BJD registered a thumping electoral victory winning 113 of the 147 seats. The BJP came a distant second with 23 seats, followed by the Congress with 9. The CPM won one seat and another was won by an Independent.

In the run-up to the twin polls, the grand old party, which has been relegated to 3rd spot in the last Assembly polls, has suffered a series of reverses in political fortunes.

Today, senior Congress leader and former minister Ganeswar Behera resigned on Tuesday from the primary membership of the party. Several Congress leaders including former Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee working president and ex-MLA Chiranjib Biswal, former minister Surendra Singh Bhoi, sitting MLA Adhiran Panigrahi, ex-MLA K Surya Rao and Ansuman Mohanty have joined the BJD in the recent past.

Lying low following successive electoral drubbing since 2000, the Congress party in the state has already lost the principal Opposition party standing to BJP.

Over the years, its vote share has reached its lowest ebb at 17.02 per cent during the 2019 assembly elections, way behind the Biju Janata Dal (44.71 per cent) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (32.49 per cent). Of the 147 assembly seats Congress contested last time, it failed to hit the double-digit mark, managing to win only nine seats.



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