The Congress today lost its third Lok Sabha candidate, just days before voting on the seat. Sucharita Mohanty, the party’s candidate dropped out citing lack of funds.

“It is clear that only a fund crunch is holding us back from a winning campaign in Puri. I regret that without party funding, it won’t be possible to carry out the campaign in Puri. I, therefore, return the INC ticket for the Puri Parliamentary Constituency herewith,” Ms Puri wrote in a letter to Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge.

The journalist-turned-politician alleged that Odisha Congress in-charge Ajoy Kumar asked her to fight using her own funds.

“I was a salaried professional journalist who entered electoral politics 10 years ago. I have given all I have into my campaign in Puri. I tried a public donation drive to support my campaign for progressive politics without much success so far. I also tried to cut down the projected campaign spending to the minimum,” she mentioned.

Following her nomination for the Puri Lok Sabha seat, Ms Mohanty had also tried to arrange funds through crowd-funding. She shared a UPI QR code and other account details on her social media account seeking donations to contest the elections.

She said that she remains a loyal worker of the Congress, but had to take the drastic step as she was unable to raise enough funds on her own and the party was not giving her any.

Ms Mohanty was also unhappy with the Congress over the selection of candidates for seven Assembly segments under the Puri Lok Sabha constituency and had reportedly requested party seniors to change the candidates in some of the seats. However, the party didn’t pay heed to her.

Voting in Puri will be held on May 25.

The opposition party has already lost candidates in Surat and Indore. On April 22, the BJP’s Mukesh Dalal was declared the unopposed winner for the Surat Lok Sabha constituency after the Congress nominee Nilesh Kumbhani was disqualified.

Akshay Bam, who the Congress fielded from Indore, pulled back his name and joined the BJP.