Two more Congress candidates refuse to contest Assembly

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Bhubaneshwar: In a fresh blow to Congress in Odisha, two more Assembly candidates refused to contest the coming polls, forcing the grand old party to replace them on Tuesday.

Fresh nominees were named for Barchana and Nimapara Assembly seats after Sitakant Mohapatra and Satyabrat Patra who had been fielded earlier for these segments respectively refused to contest Monday night alleging “delay” in the announcement of their candidature.

As the sudden development added to its woes, Congress fielded Ajay Samal for Barchana under Jajpur Lok Sabha and Dilip Nayak from Nimapara under Jagatsinghpur Parliamentary constituency. The last day of nomination is Tuesday and polling will be held on April 29.

Three-time MLA Sitakant Mohapatra, earlier fielded from Barchana declined to contest saying his candidature was announced at the eleventh hour on April 7. “I will not get sufficient time to campaign reach out the voters in the constituency. Under such circumstances how can I contest,” Mohapatra said.

Similarly, Satyabrat Patra, earlier named for Nimapara, claimed that there was widespread resentment among party workers over the manner in which candidates are being selected by the party in the state.

Earlier, four candidates named by Congress for assembly polls had pulled out of the fray. They are Muktikanta Biswal, Pruthvi Ballav Patnaik, Yudhistir Samantaray and Bibhu Prasad Tarai who had been nominated from Rourkela, Begunia, Pipli and Tirtol Assembly seats respectively.

Tarai, a former MP, later joined BJP and was made the saffron party candidate for Jagatsinghpur Lok Sabha constituency.

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