LS polls: Congress fields ex-Union minister Srikant Jena from Odisha’s Balasore - Hindustan Times
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LS polls: Congress fields ex-Union minister Srikant Jena from Odisha’s Balasore

ByDebabrata Mohanty
Apr 14, 2024 12:54 PM IST

Srikant Jena will contest from against former Union minister and BJP candidate Pratap Sarangi and the BJD’s Lekhashree Samantsinghar, who quit the BJP earlier this week

The Congress on Saturday announced former Union minister Srikant Jena as its candidate for the Balasore Lok Sabha seat in Odisha in its second list of nominees for the upcoming Parliament elections in the state.

Srikant Jena being welcomed back to the Congress at the party headquarters in Delhi on March 6. (ANI File Photo)
Srikant Jena being welcomed back to the Congress at the party headquarters in Delhi on March 6. (ANI File Photo)

Jena will contest from Balasore, from where he had won in 2009 Lok Sabha election, against former Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Pratap Sarangi and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD)’s Lekhashree Samantsinghar, who quit the BJP earlier this week.

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Jena, a four-time Lok Sabha member, was expelled from the Congress in January 2019 for “anti-party” activities. Following his exit from the party, Jena launched Samajika Nyay Abhiyan, a non-political platform that advocated for a social justice movement. However, he came back to the Congress last month at a programme in Delhi.

Jena began his political career from the Janata Patry and became an MLA in the Odisha Assembly in 1977 from Bari in Jajpur district. Later, he switched to the Congress and became one of the key faces of the party in the state. He was the Union minister of state for small scale industry, agro and rural industries in the VP Singh government and then Union minister for Parliamentary affairs and tourism in the Gujaral and Deve Gowda governments. He was also the minister of state (independent charge) for chemicals and fertilizers and statistics and programme implementation in the UPA-II government under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The Congress has so far fielded candidates for 17 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats. Of the remaining four, the party is likely to leave Aska for the Communist Party of India (CPI) and Mayurbhanj for the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM). It is yet to announce candidates for Sambalpur and Cuttack Lok Sabha seats.

The Congress fielded its student wing NSUI’s state unit president Yasir Nawaz from Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha constituency. Nawaz will face the poll battle against the BJP’s sitting MP Aparajita Sarangi and the BJD’s Manmath Routray, the son of veteran Congress leader and Jatni MLA Suresh Routray.

For Jajpur, Bhadrak and Jagatsinghpur, it has chose veteran Congressmen Anchal Das, Anant Sethy and Rabindra Kumar Sethy, respectively. In its first list, released on April 2, the Congress announced its candidates for 8 Lok Sabha and 49 Assembly seats.

Beginning May 13, elections to the 147 seats in the state assembly and 21 Lok Sabha constituencies will take place on May 13, May 20, May 25 and June 1.

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