Race for State Congress president post heats up in Odisha

The State unit of the party seems to be vertically divided with the legislators and organisational wing not agreeing on any issue.

Published: 12th August 2017 03:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th August 2017 09:33 AM   |  A+A-

AICC team members in Bhubaneswar on Friday | Express

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: The three-member team of All India Congress Committee (AICC) observers reached the Capital City on Friday evening on a four-day visit to  recommend the name of  president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) to president Sonia Gandhi.

But the State unit of the party seems to be vertically divided with the legislators and organisational wing not agreeing on any issue. In such a situation, political observers have expressed doubt whether the visit of the AICC team can end factionalism in the State unit.

The team comprising former Union minister Jeetendra Singh, party MPs Tamradhwaj Sahu and Gourab Gogoi was accompanied by AICC general secretary in-charge of Odisha BK Hariprasad. The team would meet senior party leaders, party MLAs, former MLAs and MPs, party candidates of 2014 Lok Sabha and Assembly on August 12 and 13 to assess the situation.

Meanwhile, several party MLAs who met in the residence of Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Narasingh Mishra here decided that all legislators would meet the observers in a group and not individually. MLAs, who are district presidents, would meet the observers in the legislator category. Party legislators Devendra Sharma, Jacob Pradhan, Naba Kishore Das and Prakash Behera are also presidents of the District Congress Committees (DCCs).

Meanwhile, Congress Chief Whip in the Assembly Taraprasad Bahinipati said the MLAs will extend support to senior leader Niranjan Patnaik as the next OPCC president. Though Patnaik and former union minister Bhakta Charan Das have emerged as the frontrunners, the camp of OPCC president Prasad Harichandan has also decided to lobby for his continuance in the post.

The AICC team was constituted by party president Sonia Gandhi following the growing demand for a change in the State leadership, including the OPCC president, after the dismal show of the party in the panchayat polls.

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