BHUBANESWAR: The demand for a change in the State leadership of the Congress has gained momentum with several leaders from Odisha meeting All India Congress Committee (AICC) vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday at New Delhi.
As the clamour for replacing Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Jaydev Jena has grown, the meeting between Arjya Kumar Gyanendra, State convenor of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Rahul Gandhi at New Delhi has assumed significance.
Gyanendra, a former Congressman, said he apprised Rahul about the reasons behind his quitting the party before the polls. The former Congressmen alleged that tickets were sold by those who were in charge of the party in the State, leading to such a humiliating defeat.
Gyanendra was an aspirant for the Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha seat, which was given to Odia actor Bijay Mohanty. The TMC leader was accompanied by former MP Anadi Charan Das and former minister Dolagovind Pradhan and other senior leaders. The Congress leaders are reported to have told Rahul that Jena and party's campaign committee chairman, also former union minister, Srikant Jena were responsible for the party's debacle in both, the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
Sources close to the OPCC president, however, alleged that Gyayendra is trying to curry favour with the party leadership to rejoin Congress. The Congress high command has started meeting state leaders to ascertain the reasons behind the party's defeat in the last elections and take their opinion on how to strengthen the organisation in Odisha.
The TMC leader also met several senior Congress leaders Janardan Dwivedi, Ajay Maken and AK Antony on Saturday. More than a dozen senior Congress leaders including the then leader of the opposition Bhupinder Singh had quit the party before the polls and joined different political parties, including BJD and BJP.