The pre-electoral mess in the Orissa Congress got messier on Wednesday when its youth wing president,Rohit Pujari,quit the party protesting inequitable distribution of tickets by the party high command,and joined the BJD.
Pujari,who was made the president of the Orissa Pradesh Youth Congress in 2005,was eyeing the Sambalpur Lok Sabha seat. When his wish was rejected,he reacted by tendering his resignation on Wednesday afternoon. Its (Congress) a party controlled by mafia. Anyone with a little self-respect should not remain in a national party like the Congress, Pujari said.
The youth leader alleged that senior partymen had formed a cartel to corner all party tickets,denying any opportunity to the youth. Last month,Pujari was publicly censured by state Congress unit president K P Singh Deo at a meeting in Deogarh district for the high-decibel sloganeering by his supporters. Pujari said he was humiliated by the way Deo asked him to stop speaking at the meeting.
Within hours of quitting,Pujari joined the BJD along with another Congress leader Haldhar Karji,a former minister,at a function held at party office here.
I joined BJD because it is a regional party and CM Naveen Patnaik,its leader,has a clean image. We were demanding 30 per cent tickets for youth in the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. But our demands were ignored, Pujari said. Sources said Pujari is likely to get the BJD ticket for Sambalpur Lok Sabha seat.
Pujaris resignation came as a blow for the Congress,which is struggling hard to finalise the Lok Sabha and Assembly candidates in Orissa.
Over the past few days,at least two senior Congress leaders,including chief of Congress Legislature Party Ulaka Ramachandra,have threatened to resign after the high command ignored their demands. Ramachandras list of favourite candidates for his home district Rayagada was trashed by the partys Central Election Committee,which favoured the candidates of former chief minister Giridhar Gomango.
Besides,former Union minister Bhakta Charan Das is unhappy over being denied the Kalahandi Lok Sabha ticket. Even the state Congress president has raised a banner of revolt after names of several of his candidates were struck off and names of relatively fresh faces added by the high command.