Bhubneswar: A day ahead of poll counting Odisha, PCC president Niranjan Patnaik Wednesday conceded that the Congress will not only not be (rpt not) able to form a government in the state on its own but may even lose its opposition status. Patnaik’s statement indicates that BJP will take its place in the BJD-ruled state, which led senior Congress leaders to openly blame the party’s state leadership for the situation.
“We(Congress) will not be able to form the government in the state on our own. However, our performance will be better than in 2014,” Patnaik told reporters here during an interaction reacting to exit poll predictions. The Congress had in 2014 bagged only 16 out of the total 147 seats in Odisha Assembly and had failed to open its account in the Lok Sabha polls. Different exit polls this time predicted one Lok Sabha seat and 15 assembly seats for the party.
Patnaik, however, claimed that he himself will win from Bhandaripokhari and Ghasipura assembly seats which he has contested. Senior Congress leader and former minister Jagannath Patnaik has resigned from the OPCC coordination committee and the Pradesh Election Committee(PEC) in protest against the poor poll preparedness and management by the party state leadership.
“”The state leadership failed to propagate Rahul Gandhi’s NYAY and programmes for farmers. The party also failed to maintain its policy in ticket distribution and management of elections …. I have sent my resignation letter to PCC president,” he said. The former minister said that the wrong doings in the party should be corrected and discussion should be held on the reason behind losing an opportunity this time. “I therefore did not resign from the PCC or AICC,” Jagannth Patnaik said.
Congress candidate from Sukinda assembly seat and former minister, Sarat Rout directly blamed the OPCC president and accused him of failing to manage the elections. “He (Niranjan) has betrayed the trust of Rahul Gandhi,” Rout alleged adding that the Congress this time chose to take the third position giving an upper berth to BJP.
“There was mismanagement at all levels – from ticket distribution to poll management. I was a candidate fighting against the BJD. Nobody from the party came to my help, I fought the election like an orphan,” Rout said. Asked whether change in PCC presidentship will be the right action, Rout said: “Removing Niranjan Patnaik from the post will not help the party. Damage has already been done. He may quit the post on his own.” Congress candidate from Cuttack Lok Sabha segment Panchanan Kangungo also expressed similar view..