Even though three months have elapsed since Jaydev Jena was appointed as the president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC), office-bearers of the party’s State unit are yet to be announced crippling the functioning of the party as factionalism has reared its head ahead of urban local body polls.
The unity move started by the State leadership ahead of the visit of vice-president of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) Rahul Gandhi to the State in the last week of August or first week of September seems to have failed as Jena was unsuccessful in his attempts to placate all the senior leaders.
Though a joint press conference of Jena and former OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik was convened on August 9, the latter did not attend it exposing the fact that the differences between the two leaders still linger. Besides, Niranjan skipped a Congress meeting at Keonjhar on August 11 attended by Jena and other senior State leaders.
The showcause notice served on former MP and party leader Soumya Ranjan Patnaik by the disciplinary committee of the OPCC for trying to run a parallel organisation has shown that groupism is threatening to affect the performance of the party. Senior Congress leaders admitted that the party organisation has become divided into two groups at every place.
The statement of former working president Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra questioning the authority of the OPCC to take disciplinary action against Soumya Ranjan, an AICC member, has proved that some leaders are yet to reconcile with the appointment of Jena as the OPCC president.
Mohapatra along with Union Minister Srikant Jena, former Union Minister Bhakta Charan Das and Jena were called twice by Rahul Gandhi to New Delhi for discussion on organisational matters before Niranjan was replaced as OPCC president.
Meanwhile, Odisha Pradesh Mahila Congress (OPMC) has demanded that 50 per cent of tickets in the urban body polls should be given to women candidates. The demand was discussed at a meeting of OPMC at the party headquarters here on Tuesday.Besides, the zonal level workshops of Congress have also been postponed till September 20 because of the urban body polls.