Odisha polls: In blow to Congress, two more candidates refuse to contest

Bhubaneswar: Days before the Assembly elections, in a major blow to the Congress in Odisha, two of its candidates today refused to contest the upcoming polls citing “delay” in the announcement of their candidature.

Senior Congress leader and three-time MLA, Sitakant Mohapatra, whom the party had fielded from Barchana Assembly constituency under Jajpur Parliamentary seat, has returned his ticket to the party.

“I do not want to contest the elections as my name was announced yesterday (April 07) and the last date of filing nomination is April 09. Now, I have very less time to reach out the voters in my constituency,” said Mohapatra.

He had won the seat in 2004 on a Congress ticket. In 2014, Mohapatra fought the election as a candidate of the Nationalist Congress Party but lost to BJD’s Amar Prasad Satpathy.

Similarly, Satyabrat Patra, the Congress’ candidate for Nimapara Assembly segment under Puri Lok Sabha constituency, pulled himself out of the poll fray.

“As there is resentment among party workers over the delay (in announcement of my candidature), I have decided not to contest the polls,” Patra attributed.

Earlier, four Congress MLA candidates – Muktikanta Biswal, Pruthvi Ballav Patnaik, Yudhistir Samantaray and Bihu Prasad Tarai refused to contest the polls after getting party tickets from Rourkela, Begunia, Pipli and Tirtol Assembly segments. Tarai, going a step ahead, resigned from the party and joined the BJP last week.

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