Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Dhenkanal, Mar 21:
While the exodus from the state Congress continues, the party faces a major crisis in Dhenkanal where former Union minister and former PCC president KP Singhdeo is hellbent on contesting from the Dhenkanal Lok Sabha constituency even though the AICC has named Sudhir Samal for the seat already.
Singhdeo had represented the seat six times earlier and was certain about getting the party ticket this time around.
The state Congress leaders and Samal are busy persuading Singhdeo, the scion of erstwhile Dhenkanal royal family not to jump into the fray he has so far refused to budge.
According to party sources, since Samal is yet to be handed over the party ticket, the party high command may change its mind and opt for Singhdeo in the next two or three days.
However, the state leadership led by PCC president Jaydev Jena and Union Minister Srikant Jena are trying to pacify Singhdeo by offering a ticket to his son Amarjyoti Singhdeo for the Dhenkanal Sadar Assembly seat, where the party has not yet declared its candidate.
According to reports, although Naveen Chandra Narayan Das, a former minister is lobbying for a ticket for the Sadar seat, he may not get it since the state Congress leadership is trying to placate Singhdeo by offering the seat to his son.
However, there is also buzz about the sitting NCP MLA Navin Nanda, who jumped to BJD , may join the Congress to contest from Dhenkanal Sadar . This partly explains why both the Congress and BJD have held up the declaration of candidates for this constituency, informed sources said.
Meanwhile, there are reports that BJP is trying to grab the opportunity and persuade the veteran Congress leader to contest the Dhenkanal Lok Sabha constituency on its ticket. Some leaders including state BJP president KV Singhdeo and national general secretary Dharmendra Pradhan are in constant touch with Singhdeo.This has left the Congress leadership worried because KP Singhdeo does have his own vote-bank and enough clout in the constituency.
Many senior Congress leaders including PCC spokesperson Durgacharan Sahoo and three block presidents of Kamakshya Nagar, Kankadahad and Parjang and all the office bearers of Parjang and Kankadahad have already resigned from the party protesting the allotment of tickets to some leaders, who even do not belong to the Congress. Observers feel the continuing crisis will have a cascading effect on the poll prospects of the party in the entire district.
The Congress had lost all the seven assembly and Lok Sabha seats to BJD in the 2009 elections. The party may face a repeat situation this time too if the current crisis remains unresolved, said sources.