Odisha Cong cadres root for a leader of J.B. Patnaik's stature

By IANS | Published: February 12, 2023 10:06 AM2023-02-12T10:06:04+5:302023-02-12T10:20:48+5:30

Bhubaneswar, Feb 12 Will the Congress bounce back in Odisha? This question is on the minds of Congress ...

Odisha Cong cadres root for a leader of J.B. Patnaik's stature | Odisha Cong cadres root for a leader of J.B. Patnaik's stature

Odisha Cong cadres root for a leader of J.B. Patnaik's stature

Bhubaneswar, Feb 12 Will the Congress bounce back in Odisha? This question is on the minds of Congress workers and supporters in the state following the successful completion of the Bharat Jodo Yatra by Rahul Gandhi and the state's ex-chief secretary Bijay Patnaik joining the party.

The result of past elections held since 2019 and internal fighting shows that the Congress is weakening day by day in the state.

The number of the Congress' seats in the Vidhan Sabha has come down to nine from 16 seats in 2014. With this dismal show, the Congress party has come down to third position from second in Odisha. The party has lost the principal opposition tag in the Odisha assembly to the BJP, which had won 23 assembly seats in the 2019 polls.

While the party got a 38 per cent vote share in the 2004 polls, it came down to 29.11 per cent in 2009 and further to 25.74 per cent in 2014. The party secured only 17.02 per cent votes in the last general election held in 2019.

In between, Odisha has witnessed seven assembly by-elections, panchayat elections and urban polls. The performance of the Congress was very poor in all the elections.

It has not been able to win a single by-poll. The party has lost deposits in five by-polls for the Bijepur, Balasore Sadar, Pipili, Dhamnagar and Padampur assembly seats while it has managed to remain in the second position in the by-poll for the Brajarajnagar seat.

In the by-poll for the Tirtol seat, the Congress just about saved its security deposit but remained in third position.

In the panchayat and urban civic elections held last year, the grand old party was not able to perform as expected.

The Congress drew a blank in 18 out of 30 districts in the elections to the three-tier Panchayati Raj institutions. Out of the 2.10 crore valid votes polled in this rural poll, the Congress got 28.54 lakh votes (13.57 per cent).

In the urban polls, the party was able to win the chairperson's seat in only seven out of 109 urban local bodies.

Factionalism, weak organisation, poor strategy, resource crunch, lack of credible leadership, infighting and lack of people-connect programmes, has led the party to this sorry state, according to local political observers.

In addition to this, the recent events like Congress MLA Taraprasad Bahinipati's praise for Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at a public programme and cross voting by Cuttack MLA Mohammed Moquim during the last presidential election, has also demoralised party workers.

Bahinipati openly chanted slogans ... Naveen Patnaik Zindabad during the platinum jubilee function of Vikram Deb Autonomous College last week. After coming out from the voting centre, Moquim had announced before the media that he had voted in favour of NDA nominee and Odia daughter Droupadi Murmu in the presidential poll.

Since 2019, many tall leaders of the party including MLA Naba Das (who was killed on January 29, 2023), tribal leader Pradeep Majhi, former union minister Srikant Jena have departed from the organisation.

Due to the lack of strategy and resources, the party workers at the grassroots level either joined other parties (BJD or BJP) or remained silent. After this, the Congress votes are either going to the BJD or the BJP, said political analyst Rabi Das.

Following the demise of three-time former chief minister Janaki Ballav Patnaik, the party has yet to get a leader like him, who can have command over the party's organisation in entire Odisha, he said.

Besides, he said, the central leadership of the party is also not giving any importance to Odisha, which was again proved during the recently held Bharat Jodo Yatra.

The party has now roped in ex-chief secretary Bijay Patnaik, who can help the party by providing inputs for preparing strategies as he was in the Naveen Patnaik government, Das pointed out.

"In my opinion Congress in Odisha will bounce back, if the party is revived at the national level. The party needs to bring back its tall leaders, who have gone to other parties and utilise its able leaders like ex-union minister Bhakta Das in the state," he added.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor

Open in app