Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Jan 24:
The Pradesh Election Committee (PEC) of Congress, which met today to recommend the names of possible Lok Sabha candidates to the AICC screening committee headed by Oscar Fernandes, decided to re-nominate the six sitting MPs in the coming elections while some fresh candidates are likely to be fielded in the other seats to turn the dwindling fortune of in its favour.
“We have decided to recommend the names of all the six sitting MPs to the screening committee headed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to take a final decision. All the members unanimously favoured that the sitting MPs should be fielded again in the coming elections,” PCC president Jayadev Jena told media persons after coming out of the PEC meeting attended by 13 members and 12 special invitees.
All six Congress Lok Sabha MPs and all of them are interested to contest in the ensuing elections scheduled to be held in April/May this year, Jena said.
Winnability will be the main criterion in recommending names for the other seats, the PCC chief said.
“The District Congress Committees have recommended several names and we come to the conclusion that winnability will be the main criteria for selection of the candidates. Our priority will be fielding youths in the coming elections within this overall criterion,” said Jena.
However, many district presidents have recommended their names to the PEC expressing an interest to contest in the elections, even though some of them had lost as MLA or MP in 2009 elections.
“Yes, many district presidents have recommended their names despite the fact that they had made unsuccessful attempts in the last polls. However, they may emerge victorious this time,” said Nabarangpur MP Pradip Majhi.
Former Koraput MP and chief minister Giridhari Gamang is likely to get ticket this time even though he contested unsuccessfully in 2009 polls.
“I don’t know what the high command will decide. If a nine-time MP lost once, that does not mean he should not be considered,” said Gamanga.
Senior Congress leader Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra (Lulu) contested the plan of some sitting MPs, including Union Minister Srikant Jena, to contest from other constituencies.
He said that local leaders who have worked for the people should be recommended for the Lok Sabha constituencies.
Former PCC president Niranjan Patnaik expressed his willingness to contest Lok Sabha polls.
He, however, said it will be decided by the high command.
According to sources, the PEC has recommended three names from each constituency while one name has been recommended from the constituencies represented by the Congress. Odisha has 21 Lok Sabha seats.