Bhubaneswar: Protesting against the method used for candidate selection by the party, Congress veteran and sitting MP from Sundergarh Lok Sabha constituency Hemananda Biswal on Wednesday announced he would not contest polls.
"I have already apprised the party high command and others involved in selection of candidates in the state about my decision. I was not at all consulted before selection of candidates for Assembly segments at least in my Parliamentary constituency," former Odisha chief minister Hemananda Biswal told a news agency over phone today.
Biswal`s protest came close on the heels of former OPCC president and ex-MP K P Singhdeo`s resentment against the party leadership for denying him a ticket to him from Dhenkanal constituency.
Former MP Hema Gamang, wife of former chief minister Giridhar Gamang, has also meanwhile resigned from the party and joined the ruling BJD and become a party candidate from Gunupur Assembly segment.
Biswal, who has been renominated by the party to contest from Sundergarh Lok Sabha seat, while addressing party workers at Sundargarh, had said, "I am surprised by the decision of the party leadership to field two candidates - from Bonai and Raghunathpalli - who were not considered members of the party".
"I don`t know whether these two candidates belong to Congress. The party leadership neither sought any suggestion from the District Congress leaders and nor discussed their selection with me. Since it is not possible to contest the polls with the help of these two new faces, I am forced to withdraw from race," Biswal, a prominent tribal leader said.
Biswal, however, refused to name the two candidates he had proposed to contest from Bonai and Raghunathpalli.
Congress candidates list which was released yesterday mentioned BJP`s suspended and sitting MLA Bhimsen Choudhury as its candidate from Bonai seat while Ashok Kumar Setty has been named as the party candidate from Raghunathpalli.
While Bhimsen had joined Congress after quitting BJP during recent Rajya Sabha elections, Setty, a former employee of a steel plant, Biswal`s supporters claimed.
Setty will face commerce and transport minister Subrat Tarai in Raghunathpalli segment in Sundergarh district.