Bhubaneswar, Oct 26 :
The defeat in the Kandhamal Lok Sabha by-election has triggered intra-party conflicts in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress in Odisha.
While a section of Congress leaders want a new state leadership, the BJP has suspended one of its leaders after he tweeted that the party must introspect why the Modi wave was diluted in the state.
The ruling Biju Janata Dal’s (BJD) Pratyusha Rajeswari Singh won from Kandhamal by nearly three lakh votes over her nearest rival — BJP’s Rudra Madhav Ray. She secured 477,529 votes and Ray 178,661 votes.
Congress candidate Abhimanyu Behera stood third with 90,536 votes. The Oct 15 election followed the death of BJD’s Hemendra Chandra Singh. Rajeswari is his widow.
Former minister and senior Congress leader Dolagovinda Pradhan said he had written to party president Sonia Gandhi seeking an immediate change in the state leadership.
“It was because of the weak state leaderships that people are distancing themselves from the party. The Congress has not only fared poorly in Kandhamal but our candidate lost his security deposit,” he said.
The Congress is the main opposition party in the state.
In the BJP, Ashok Sahu, a former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer who held the post of state vice president and spokesman in 2009-13, said the party’s state unit required immediate surgery.
“The Kandhamal by-poll result is a lesson for the BJP to introspect why Modi wave is diluted in Odisha unlike other parts in the country,” Sahu said, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The BJP in Odisha, as it appears, requires immediate surgery. It is unfortunate that some in the BJP are celebrating it as an achievement,” he said.
“This euphoria,” Sahu added, “does not augur well for the party. We, in the BJP, both leaders at the state level and the workers, have to do a lot at the ground level…”
The BJP suspended Sahu Thursday and served him a show cause notice asking him to explain why he should not be expelled.
A day after his suspension, Sahu hit back saying the action against him was whimsical. He said the BJP leaderships in Odisha was weak and corrupt.
Sahu also alleged that state BJP chief K.V. Singh Deo had close links with the mining mafia. He called some former ministers now in the BJP as corrupt.