Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar/Bargarh: With only hours remaining for announcement of the result of the Bijepur bypoll, infighting has ensued within Congress with senior party leader Sura Routray bringing backstabbing allegations against a few party leaders.

Routray on Tuesday said that three leaders of the party spent money in the Bijepur Assembly constituency to defeat party candidate Pranay Sahu. Without taking names, he said that even though the trio was campaigning for the party, in reality, they hatched a conspiracy to defeat Sahu.

"They might be thinking that if Congress loses the by-election, Prasad Harichandan will be sacked and one among them can be the president of the Odisha unit of the party. Even though backstabbing efforts were made to defeat party candidate, Congress will win the Bijepur bypoll by a margin of 1,500 to 2,000 votes," he added.

Reacting to Routray's comments, senior Congress leader Niranjan Patnaik said that the party had roped in a good candidate but it might lose the bypoll due to unpreparedness and lack of money.

Taking a dig at Routray's allegations, Patnaik further said, "Spending money to defeat own party candidate in the bypoll is illogical."

Another Congress leader and former minister, Srikant Jena on the other hand said that Congress' prospects in the bypoll were hit by delay in selection of candidate.

"Had the party named its candidate for the by-election a month prior, we would have got ample time to reach out to people and conduct proper campaigning," Jena said.