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Devbrat Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: Disappointed with the candidate list announced by the party late last night, Congress chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati today expressed that despite being a senior leader, he feels he doesn't have a say in any decision taken by the party.

Bahinipati also claimed that it is party working president Pradeep Majhi who calls the shots in giving ticket to a particular candidate.

"Pradeep Majhi is the leader of our area and has been assigned the charge of such things. The party had assured that the candidature of sitting MLAs is final. It's unfortunate that tickets for Kotpad and Laxmipur seats have not been finalised yet."

Even Sumitra Jena, the President of Odisha Pradesh Mahila Congress seemed dissatisfied after ticket allotment. "We had recommended names of 52 aspirants. If they are not given tickets, we will definitely raise our voices. Only one woman was granted ticket in the first phase list. I want to contest elections from Bhadrak Assembly constituency. Only time will tell what will happen if party denies ticket to me."

Meanwhile after the Congress fielded Nipan Das from Bargarh Assembly constituency, former Bargarh MLA Sadhu Nepak resigned from the party today. Sadhu accused the Congress of nepotism and said, "The party is not a paternal property of anyone. I will soon take a decision on my future course of action," he said.

On the other hand, it was interesting to see how senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra today flip-floped his statements on fighting elections this time. Mishra was declared party's candidate for the Bolangir Assembly constituency.

On October 5, 2017, Mishra had rebuffed retirement rumours stating that he will stay in politics till death but won't contest the 2019 elections.

He, however, said today it is the party's prerogative to decide the candidate and might get ousted if he says no to the decision of the party.

Meanwhile in Titlagarh, supporters of former MLA Surendra Singh staged a road blockade demanding ticket to the leader for the assembly constituency, though the party is yet to declare candidate for the seat.

Surendra Singh had lost to BJD's Tukuni Sahu in the 2014 elections. Since then, he had been working day and night along with party workers, said his supporters.

However, resentment brew among them after speculations were rife that Congress has decided to field Sarat Pattnaik and not Singh. Vehicular movement was affected and shops remained shut for a few hours during the blockade at Saintala on Bargarh-Borigumma road, until police came and pacified Singh's supporters to withdraw protests.

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