Draupadi Murmu’s nomination as the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) may have caused some split in the Odisha Congress and a senior party leader on Saturday urged party chief Sonia Gandhi to support Murmu and withdraw her candidacy. The joint opposition candidate is Yashwant Sinha.
Former minister and Congress MLA Suresh Routray has said that she would urge Sonia Gandhi to support her as she is from the Murmu tribe and is based in Odisha.
“As a Odia, I am happy for Murmu. She is an Odia tribal woman and has worked as a legislator, minister and governor of Jharkhand, where she has shown her potential. I recently met him at Odisha Bhavan and congratulated him. We (UPA) should withdraw our (Yashwant Sinha’s) candidacy, ”Routray said.
He said the party would act as the party’s High Command.
Routray’s statement comes two days after Congress legislature leader Narsingh Mishra said that the party would not support him as he is a candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“No matter how good or good a person is, the Congress will never support a person who believes in the ideology of the RSS or the BJP. Even though he is a good politician and a good man, he believes in BJP ideology. So Congress will never support him. The people of this ideology killed Mahatma Gandhi and we will never support such people, ”he said.
Two days ago, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik urged all the state legislators to support Murmu, who calls her “daughter of the state”. The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has 112 MLAs in the 147-member State Assembly, while BJP has 22. Congress has 9 MLAs, two of whom are Adivasis.
However, a former Congress MLA from Koraput has admitted that Murmu’s candidacy has put the party in a fix. “We all want to say we support the party candidate, but how can we oppose tribal women in a state where our future is steadily declining? We hope that the party will reconsider Yashwant Sinha’s decision, ”the former Congress MLA said.
Political analysts said Rowatra’s statement highlights the confusion in the party.
The Congress is in power with the support of tribal votes in Odisha. Local leaders should be embarrassed to vote against Murmu because they are seen as anti-tribal. Though party leaders want to say that they follow the party line, it is a secret ballot so many people can cross-vote, ”said Satya Prakash Dash, a professor of politics in Sambalpur.