Himansu Shekhar Rout

Amid the highly expensive campaigning blitz, Congress is reportedly hit by a funding crunch after the accounts of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) were frozen. 

While other parties have made big rallies, roadshows, hoardings, large posters and banners to add razzmatazz to their campaigns, the paucity of funds is said to be a major worry for the Congress to match the show of their rivals. 

Broad hints about funds crunch

The problem was broadly hinted at by AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge at a press meet in Bhubaneswar. “First of all, our accounts were frozen. Our treasury was locked. This is not a level playing ground,” he said.

The party has been funding candidates based on their winnability.   

Congress’ MLA nominee Monalisa Samal from the Balasore Assembly seat is a case in point. The lecturer-turned-politician said, “We have no funds for the poll battle. The party is also not giving us much assistance,” she said.  

In Bhograi, Congress MLA candidate Satyashiba Das said, “Congress is left with meagre funds. We are fighting elections in Bhograi with the financial support of the people,” he added.

In fact, before the AICC chief hinted about financial distress, the party’s Puri Lok Sabha candidate Sucharita Mohanty had highlighted the issue, saying it was difficult for her to contest the poll without party funding. She returned her ticket and the grand old party had to change its candidate. 

'Many rich Congress leaders can come forward'

However, Suresh Routray, who has been suspended from the party, said that Kharge himself is a rich man and there are several Congress leaders in Odisha who can bankroll campaign management for 10 elections.

Biswaranjan Mohanty, president of the Odisha Congress Media Cell said, "In the high-cost electioneering, the money power of the rival parties will not work. People have wholehearted support for the Congress. This is our confidence.“

Senior Journalist Prasanna Mohanty concurred with Suresh Routray saying, "The Congress should not forget that it was in power for so many years in the country and in Odisha as well. Many leaders created during its regime can bankroll the electioneering expenses of their candidates for the entire state if they wish.”

 

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