Himansu Shekhar Rout

Infighting and dissidence have become so acute in Congress in Koraput that it has reportedly left the grand old party in tatters. Disgruntled leaders have turned open rebels and do not see eye to eye with the MP and MLA candidates in the district.

Opposing their own nominees and challenging the decision of the top leaders, some leaders have even filed nominations as independents for the Lok Sabha seat and Assembly seats such as Gunupur, Bissam Cuttack and Jeypore.
Sitting MP Saptagiri Ulaka was repeated this time in Koraput, but youth leader Abinash Gamang, son of the president of the Koraput Zilla Congress Committee, has filed a nomination as an independent.

Abinash said, "I belong to the Congress family. I have filed my nomination as an Independent to protect the honour of my family and work for the tribal people. Saptagiri has been the MP for the last five years. How many people have been given jobs? How many areas has he visited?”

Saptagiri said, "There were many ticket aspirants, but one was given the ticket. We are trying to get along with everyone. We will settle the issues through discussions with the ones who have filed nominations.” 

In Gunupur, youth leader and president of the Gudari Block Congress Committee Bhaskar Jageranga has filed a nomination by challenging the party’s MLA nominee Satyajit Gamang.

The party’s situation in Bissam Cuttack is no different. Youth leader Nilamadhab Ulaka, a cousin (son of former minister Dambarudhar Ulaka) of MP candidate Saptagiri Ulaka has opposed the party’s MLA nominee Nilamadhab Hikaka and is contesting as an independent. 

In Jeypore, veteran Congress leader and sitting MLA Taraprasad Bahinipati is being challenged by his own party leader Pritish Papul Patnaik, son of former minister Raghunath Patnaik. 

Pritish said, "The party did not give a ticket to me. I have the constitutional right to fight the poll as an Independent. We have to work for the people and keep the workers together.” 

Taraprasad Bahinipati said, "If someone contests following his constitutional rights, we have no problem. I will talk to the MP to see what can be done for the rebels.” 

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Political observers say, that when the grand old party is struggling for its revival, the infighting will wreak havoc in Koraput.

Trinath Khadenga, a political observer said, "The rebels may play spoilsport for Congress candidates in the Lok Sabha and some Assembly seats if the top leaders fail to convince the rebels and settle the dissidence.”

  • Reported by:
  • T GOURISHANKAR , Maudi Barik