With the 2014 elections only two years away, the State Congress seems to be upbeat over its chances this time due to cracks in the BJD organisation.
A team of Congress leaders, including MLAs, led by OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik were in Delhi recently to meet Union ministers and Central leaders on issues concerning State organisation and demands.
The team also met AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi and discussed the steps to be taken for strengthening the party organisation keeping in view the next State Assembly election.
The State Congress leaders also met Railway Minister Mukul Ray and wanted that there should not be any cuts in the railway budget of the State for 2012-13. Slashing of the railway budget of the State has given an issue to the ruling BJD to attack the Congress. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had written a letter to the Centre over the matter while the Biju Yuva Janata Dal (BYJD) has threatened a Statewide agitation demanding withdrawal of the decision. However, the rift in the BJD after the May 29 coup attempt has come as a godsend opportunity for the State Congress. Besides the urban body polls next year, the party would also have to prepare for the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls in 2014.
As the number of disgruntled elements has increased in the BJD after the last reshuffle and removal of ministers, considered close to dissident Rajya Sabha member Pyarimohan Mohapatra, the Congress has plans to capitalise on that. Sources said the Congress expects rebel BJD candidates will seriously damage the prospects of official candidates in about 100 seats.