BHUBANESWAR: After the show of unity during the Odisha bandh over Nabakalebara fiasco, discontent again rears its head in the State Congress with a powerful section demanding that office-bearers be announced soon to enable preparations for Panchayat polls in 2017.
Though Prasad Harichandan has taken over as president of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) since the last six months, State level office-bearers are yet to be announced. This has given rise to resentment among a section of senior leaders, who want the organisation to be streamlined.
Sources maintained that more than 50 blocks do not have a Congress president while at many places, the party has almost become defunct because of lack of interest from local leaders. The party should re-organise the district and block level organisational bodies to take on the BJD and a resurgent BJP in the ensuing panchayat polls, a senior leader said.
Joining of veteran tribal leader Giridhar Gamang in BJP has come as a major jolt for the Congress. Though Congress leaders have dismissed the development as a minor issue, it will definitely have adverse impact in southern districts of the State, considered stronghold of Congress. Besides, several other senior tribal leaders are now unhappy in Congress.
The BJP is also striving hard to emerge as the main Opposition party in Odisha by performing better than the Congress in the panchayat elections scheduled to be held in the State in 2017.
Sources in the Congress, however, said the list of State level office-bearers are likely to be announced by July 15 after approval of the High Court. Announcement of the list of office-bearers has been delayed as both AICC president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi are out of the country now. Meanwhile, the State Congress has decided to observe the 125th anniversary of BR Ambedkar in a big way to consolidate its base among Dalit voters.