BHUBANESWAR: The three member team of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) will come on a three-day visit of Odisha from August 12 to assess the party's situation in the state and submit a report to the party president.
The team members will meet senior leaders, state office-bearers and workers to take their opinion on the next president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) and recommend their findings to party president Sonia Gandhi.
The AICC team was constituted as the demand for the ouster of the state leadership including the OPCC president Prasad Harichandan intensified after the party slipped to the third position behind BJP in the Zilla Parishad polls in February.
The AICC has, however, made it clear that the three member team will work jointly with AICC general secretary in-charge, Odisha, BK Hariprasad and AICC secretary in-charge, Odisha, Subhonkar Sarkar to assess the situation in the state. Members of the team are former union minister of state for defence Jeetendra Singh and party MPs Tamradhwaj Sahu and Sushmita Deb.
Though the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) has welcomed the formation of the three member team, it is reported to be not happy with AICC's decision to involve Hariprasad in the exercise. Hariprasad, who wanted to meet the Congress MLAs in Bhubaneswar before the presidential election, could not do so as no legislator was prepared to meet him.
"We (the MLAs) welcome the AICC team and will give our opinion on the political situation," Congress chief whip in the assembly Tara Prasad Bahinipati said.
Sources said former OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik and former union minister Bhakta Charan Das have emerged as frontrunners for the post of next state Congress president. Patnaik has the backing of the CLP and many senior leaders while Das also has his supporters in the party. The camp of Harichandan is also likely to extend support to Das as the next president of OPCC.