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Congress still in want of success in Orissa

New Delhi, Tue, 05 May 2009 Deepak Kumar Mohanty

According to a latest news report, the Congress party in eastern Indian state Orissa is soon going to see some kind of organisational changes after the outcome of the Assembly and Lok Sabha election 2009. The party has seen a very mixed - rather a dull functioning in the recently concluded polls, as its chances to cross the magic figure of 74 (in a 147-seat assembly) seems very shaky.

Prior to the polls, the Congress high command made the best effort by appointing three working presidents and giving the Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) leadership to former Union minister Kamakhya Prasad (KP) Singh Deo, but the discrepancy of local leadership came into play while distributing party tickets.

At many places, including the KP Singh Deo stronghold Dhenkanal constituency, the party remained indecisive till the last moment whether to field the Orissa PCC president or any other. The end result by choosing a candidate with very less winability, at least, made both BJP and BJD to fight at one front.

There are many instances where some able party supporters drifted to either BJD or BJP owing to lack of transparency in ticket distribution plus the arbitrary approach of some senior party leaders. The party had a great chance to encash the split of decade-long Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Biju Janata Dal (BJD) alliance, but reformation in party cadre just weeks before the election was not enough to bring much change, when the party was out of power for 10 years.

Although the Naveen Patnaik government seems the favourite in the Assembly elections, it may have to seek support of either of Congress or BJP in the formation of the government in a situation when no party gets the required number. The possibility of an affirmative performance by BJD alone can be expected, if one goes with the municipal elections held months before the general elections. Yet, the support of Congress or BJP will depend on the ‘likely’ power at Centre, by means of a mutual exchange.

Kandhamal issue and then the political masterstroke of Patnaik by parting its ways from BJP certainly add up to the credit of BJD. BJP might loss a great share of its last performance of 32 seats, but that doesn’t transport the success of Congress. It might get 50 odd seats, comparatively an improved show from 2004s 38, but no way near to form the government.

With the emerging political forecast, an alliance between BJP and BJD can’t be written off. And it all depends on how Patnaik performs and also the number the BJP-led NDA attains in Lok Sabha. As far as Congress is concerned, it’s the failure of party functionary in Orissa as well as in New Delhi who are just not able to make the most out of a cheering national scenario.

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