Pradeep Pattanayak

The infighting has proved fatal for the party in the just-concluded Jharsuguda bypoll, senior Congress leader Suresh Routray said on Sunday. 

A visibly upset, Routray even didn’t spare the seniors of his party. He said senior leaders of the party stayed away from the campaigning which, he said, was another reason for his party’s debacle in the by-election. 

When asked what led to the party’s catastrophic performance in the bypoll, the Jatni MLA said, “We have lost the election because of us, because of our party workers.”

“Besides chhatra and Mahila Congress groups, I didn’t find anyone there in Jharsuguda. We have so many workers, leaders, general secretaries, secretaries, vice presidents, ex-MLAs, ex-MPs and ex-ministers. But none of them turned out to campaign for our candidate,” he rued. 

“Our votes got divided and went to the BJD and BJP. We were not able to guard our votes. Nor did we fight heartily. We the Congress leaders and workers are responsible for our defeat. Because we are not prepared to keep the party’s reputation intact,” he said. 

He urged the workers and leaders to love the party like parents. “Consider the party as your mother and father. Consider the party as a temple. Never take the party as a means of business. We have lost the bypoll because of considering the party as a means of business.”

“If we get united, we will win the 2024 general election,” he observed.