Regional parties pooh-pooh Congress call for united fight against BJD, BJP

Bhubaneswar: The clarion call given by Odisha Congress to all secular and democratic parties to fight against BJP and BJD collectively has been roundly denounced by the regional outfits in the State.

Small regional parties like Utkal Bharat, Aama Odisha and communists have flayed the century-old party over the call.

Utkal Bharat criticized the Congress saying that it should rather align with the BJD to contest against BJP in Panchayat polls. “Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is also claiming to be a secular party. So, it (Congress) can join hands with them. There is no question of working together with Congress,” Kharavela Swain, Utkal Bharat president, said.

Aama Odisha denied any plan to work together with Congress. “Those who are doing vote bank politics should refrain from the secular remark. I do not find any party a secular one. My party has no plan to join their call,” Aama Odisha party chief Soumya Ranjan Patnaik said.

With a similar comment CPI leader Dibakar Nayak said; “We usually fight panchayat election on rural issues. Keeping local problems in view, we along with other left parties come to the poll ground. We are not thinking of any other political alignment”.

On the other hand, BJD termed the call as a symbol of the Congress’ weakness.

“It (Congress) has lost its vote base in rural pockets. In giving such a call, it has indirectly admitted its inability to fight against BJD. It is now unable to contest alone,” BJD spokesperson Amar Satpathy said.

Echoing Satpathy’s view, BJP spokesperson Sajjan Sharma said “The Congress has come down to such a level under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi that it is now seeking help of Communists. The nationalist leaders in the party would have no other option but to quit in future and party would go into oblivion ultimately.”

While addressing the extended state executive meeting of the party, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Prasad Harichandan had said on Sunday that the time had come for all secular political parties and social organisations to fight against the ‘communal’ BJP and the ‘corrupt’ BJD government in the ensuing panchayat elections in the state.

“Keeping the 2017 panchayat elections in view, Congress is preparing a blueprint to strengthen its base at the block and constituency level. Towards this end, the party will intensify its membership drive in 35,896 booths in the state in April and May,” he had said.