Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) today said the party would give preference to youths, women and new faces while selecting candidates for the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in the state next year.
“As the OPCC president, I will ensure that the tickets are distributed on the criteria of winnability, with preference to youths, women and new faces,” OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik said.
Patnaik said this after a senior leader and former minister Suresh Routray threatened to contest the poll in 2019 even if the party does not make him a candidate.
Routray, who was made the president of the Khurda district Congress committee, had issued a statement in this regard last week keeping in view Patnaik’s one-man, one-post policy. Routray was under the impression that the party may not allow him to contest the polls as he was made a district Congress committee (DCC) president.
“One man one post means one shall not hold a party post and the post of an elected representative simultaneously,” Patnaik tweeted and claimed that he has never said that those holding party posts would not be able to contest the elections.
Patnaik said he and the three OPCC working presidents would also contest the elections.
Earlier, Routray had asked, “If I cannot contest the elections because I hold the post of Khurda District Congress Committee president, will the same factor be applied to Niranjan Patnaik, who holds the post of Pradesh Congress Committee president?”
The party recently released a list of district presidents in which the names of MLAs, who had also been district chiefs, were dropped.