The simmering discontent in the Congress after the humiliating defeat in the urban local body (ULB) polls in three phases was reflected in the day-long meetings of the party at the Congress Bhavan here on Friday.
Several leaders were of the opinion that the presence of State and district leadership was not felt during the campaigning for the ULB polls in the State. Besides, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Jayadev Jena, party MPs, including Union Minister of State for Fertilisers Srikant Jena, also came in for criticism during the meetings. The uninspiring State leadership came in for strong criticism from a number of leaders for the party’s defeat in election during the last several months.
The meetings of the State coordination committee, State office-bearers and district presidents and vice-presidents were held in the presence of All-India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in-charge B K Hariprasad.
Hariprasad said the results in ULB polls in Western Odisha district held in November having a voting strength of four lakhs cannot be taken as the sole parameter for measuring the popularity of a political party.
Stating that the party will have to put up a united show in 2014 polls against the BJD, Hariprasad called upon the party leaders to take steps to strengthen the grassroots organisation.
However, a majority of those who spoke at the meeting were in favour of early announcement of the list of candidates for the 2014 elections so that they can get sufficient time to reach out to people and avoid last-minute confusion.
ayadev Jena said the party will select the candidates for the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls on the basis of winnability after getting the response from block and district level leaders. “We are preparing a strategy for the 2014 elections. The leaders will have to organise programmes at block and district level to revitalise the party workers,” Jena said.
It was decided that the coordination committee of the party will regularly chalk out strategy for the ensuing elections and decide on the programmes to be taken up. Hariprasad said the coordination committee will meet again after a week during his next visit.