BHUBANESWAR: IN a sign that there will be no change in the State Congress leadership in the near future, president of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Prasad Harichandan on Thursday gave a call for collective leadership to mark the 133rd foundation day of the party.
Harichandan along with several senior leaders of the party observed the foundation day of the party at the Congress Bhawan here and gave the call, ‘Mun nuhein, Ame (We, Not I) for the revival of party’s fortunes in Odisha. Harichandan had given a similar call to party leaders and workers when he took over as the OPCC president three years back.
“Our party workers, activists and leaders are in high spirits after Rahul Gandhi has been appointed as the president of Congress party. We need to reach out to the people in every nook and corner of the State and work hard to bring back the party into power in Odisha,” he said.
Former president of OPCC Jaydev Jena and former union minister Srikant Jena were present at the Congress during the foundation day function. However, former OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik attended the foundation day celebrations at Swaraj Ashram, Cuttack and said Congress still has the potential to comeback to power in the State. Time has come for party leaders to get their act together, he said. Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition Narasingh Mishra said the party can gain the confidence of the people by raising their problems and trying to solve them.
Harichandan’s call for collective leadership at the foundation day function has come at a time when a powerful section in the party wants restructuring of the State unit. The demand for restructuring the State unit and ouster of Harichandan as State president had intensified following the panchayat polls in February, 2017 in which the Congress had slipped to third position behind the BJP.
The vice-president of the party Rahul Gandhi had met senior leaders of the party in phases in a bid to find out what went wrong in the State and had appointed a three-member committee to assess the situation. Gandhi had met 36 senior leaders of the party at New Delhi on September 5 rekindling hopes among the party rank and file that a change of State leadership is on the cards.
Infighting, coupled with indiscipline and a weak organisation were some of the major concerns flagged by the three-member panel which visited the State in August to take stock of the ground situation.