Bhubaneswar: The Congress in Odisha will field two fresh faces in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Sources said that candidates’ list for 15 Lok Sabha and 105 Assembly seats have been finalised and the new candidates are for the Berhampur and Koraput MP segments.
According to sources, V Chandrasekhar Naidu is likely to contest from Berhampur while Saptagiri Ulaka will be nominated for the Koraput parliamentary seat.
In 2014, the BJD won the Berhampur seat by garnering 3,98,107 votes while Congress with 2,70,384 votes was second. In the battle for the Koraput constituency, BJD’s Jhina Hikaka got 3,95,109 votes while former Chief Minister Giridhar Gamang got 3,75,781 votes.
Sources also stated senior leaders Pradeep Majhi and Bhakta Charan Das will contest the polls from the same parliamentary constituencies they did last time. Das will contest from Kalahandi whereas Majhi will fight for the Nabarangpur MP seat. The BJD had won the Kalahandi seat in 2014 with 3,70,871 votes while Das got 3,07,967 votes. Majhi, on the other hand, lost by a narrow margin of 2,042 votes to BJD’s Balbhadra Majhi.
Out of 28 MLA seats that will go for polls along with these four MP seats in the first phase, April 11, six are with Congress. The Assembly seats won by Congress in 2014 were – Koraput, Jeypore, Kotpad, Dabugaon, Laxmipur and Paralakhemundi. The party likely to give another chance to these seating MLAs—few of them will be nominated for MP seats while others will contest Assembly seats.
The Congress has also finalised its alliance with non-BJD and non-BJP parties like CPI, CPI (M) and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM). It is likely to leave seven-eight Assembly and three Lok Sabha seats for these parties. The party will leave the Bhubaneswar, Aska and Mayurbhanj MP seats for CPI (M), CPI and JMM respectively.