'Ticket wapsi' turns a major embarrassment for Congress

'Ticket wapsi' turns a major embarrassment for Congress

The Odisha unit of Congress had to face a major embarrassment early this week when Sitakanta Mohapatra, a senior party leader and former minister returned the party ticket he was given to contest from his traditional Badchana assembly constituency in coastal Jajpur district which will go to polls during the fourth phase of elections in the state on April 29.

The three-time MLA rejected the party nomination on the ground that he had not been given enough time for campaigning. “It is impossible for me to fight the polls in such a short period of time”, he conveyed the state party leadership.

 Interestingly, Mohapatra is not the only Congress nominee who has returned the party ticket and withdrawn from the polls. At least half a dozen Congress leaders have done the same. In fact, “ticket wapsi” by candidates has become a humiliating factor for the Congress on the eve of elections in the state.    

Other party leaders who have refused to contest the coming polls despite having a nomination included Judhisthir Samantaray, a two time MLA from Pipli assembly seat in coastal Puri district, former MP Bibhu Prasad Tarai and Prithvi Ballav Patnaik, son of former chief minister J B Patnaik who had been selected to contest from his late father’s one time assembly constituency, Begunia in coastal Khurda district.

A majority of these leaders rejected the party nominations on the ground of delay in finalisation of tickets. The party has replaced these disgruntled leaders with fresh candidates. However, their chances of winning appear to be bleak.

 Meanwhile, the state unit of the Congress has received another pre-election embarrassment with the state president of the party’s woman wing, Sumitra Jena resigning from the party and joining the ruling Biju Janata Dal(BJD) protesting the style of functioning of the Pradesh Congress Committee(PCC) chief Niranjan Patnaik.

“I left the Congress with a heavy heart only because of the style of functioning of the PCC chief”, Jena who joined the BJD in presence of chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday evening said.