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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: As part of its ongoing strategy to reorganize the party ahead of the upcoming general elections, the Odisha Congress’ pradesh election committee (PEC) today finalized the names of 44 probable candidates in the first phase.

Though the date for official declaration of the candidates is yet to be announced, Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik informed that the names of candidates have been selected keeping in view their winning prospects.

Sources said it is for the first time that the Congress has gone for early allotment of party tickets.

“Though we had earlier announced to finalise names of probable candidates by August end, today we zeroed in on the names of candidates for 44 Assembly constituencies in Odisha. This time, we have recommended names keeping in mind the winning prospects and emphasis has been laid on youth leaders,” said Patnaik.

It is pertinent to mention here that in the last two days, the top Congress leadership including members of the PEC and screening committee have been brainstorming to select candidates for the upcoming polls.

A report will be sent to the central election committee (CEC) and All India Congress Committee (AICC) president, Rahul Gandhi for approval, informed party's Odisha-in-charge, Jitendra Singh.

“Today, a discussion was held with PEC members, working presidents on 44 seats. The leaders shared their recommendations and it has been unanimously decided to give priority to young leaders who are working at the grassroots,” said Singh.

Singh further stated that the process of ticket allotment and announcement of names of candidates will be taken up by the screening committee and central election committee in subsequent phases.

At a time when the Congress seems to be in poll mode, the party got a major jolt after MLA Krushna Chandra Sagaria resigned from the post of PCC general secretary.

Sagaria alleged that he took the decision after he was humiliated and removed from PCC SC Cell chairman post.

“If I am unfit as OPCC SC cell chairman, then how can I work for the party as general secretary? The manner in which I was removed, I cannot work under such conditions. I want to ask PCC president whether he really wants to reorganize the Congress or his own personal relationship within the party?” alleged Sagaria.

PCC working president, Pradeep Majhi on the other hand stated that efforts will be undertaken to resolve all issues within the party.

“Discussions will be held with Sagaria to resolve his grievances and all matters will be sorted out,” said Majhi.

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