Elections 2019: Odisha Congress may deny tickets to defeated candidates

Bhubaneswar: Hectic parleys have begun in Odisha Congress camp as efforts are now on to field new faces in 2019 general elections.

Speculations are also rife that many senior leaders would be denied tickets in the upcoming elections.

At the two-day Pradesh Election Committee (PEC) meeting, consensus seems to have been reached over denying tickets to candidates who have been defeated despite contesting polls several times in the past and those who have been convicted or have criminal background.

“There is a possibility of giving tickets to defeated candidates provided there are no other eligible candidates in the particular constituency. In such exceptional cases, winning prospects of the candidate will be taken into consideration,” said PCC Working President, Pradip Majhi.

However, PCC Chief Niranjan Patnaik’s statements that there would be no problem in giving tickets to two persons of the same family has certainly provided some respite to a few senior leaders.

“Those who are already in politics and have devoted their time, how can they be sidelined. But leaders who were defeated hands down will not get tickets this time,” said Patnaik.

Congress in-charge in Odisha Jitendra Singh today held one-on-one discussions with senior leader Sarat Rout who lost by a margin of 4,704 votes from Sukinda Assembly constituency in 2014.

Apart from Rout, discussions were also held with 25 other leaders including Santosh Singh Saluja, Suresh Routray, and Sadhu Nepak.

Out of the total 25, five to six leaders lost in the 2014 elections by a margin of less than 5,000 votes and are getting ready for the upcoming polls.

“We are in the party and whenever party wants we will jump into the battleground,” said senior leader Sarat Rout.

“I am already fighting on the ground and keen to serve the people,” said Congress leader Suresh Routray.

Even though it is almost certain that Congress’ existing 15 MLAs will get tickets in 2019, party might field Paralakhemundi legislator K Surya Rao for Lok Sabha as MP candidate.

Moreover, MD of Hitech group, Tirupati Panigrahi seems to be in the fray and interested to contest upcoming polls from Paralakhemundi as legislator. Both Panigrahi and K Surya Rao met party in-charge Jitendra Singh today.

“I am keen to contest from Paralakhemundi. PCC and AICC will take a final call,” said Panigrahi.

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