BHUBANESWAR: After Rajya Sabha member Ranjib Biswal, senior Congress leader and party’s whip in Odisha Assembly Tara Prasad Bahinipati has come out openly in favour of Niranjan Patnaik’s continuance as president of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC).
Bahinipati’s statement has come after interim president of AICC Sonia Gandhi summoned senior party leaders from Odisha and other parts of the country for a meeting on August 22. Though there is no clarity on the agenda, it is believed that Sonia will try to chalk out strategy to rejuvenate the grand old party.
The senior Congress MLA told mediapersons that he would urge the party high command not to change the State leadership and Patnaik should continue till the upcoming civic polls. “The change in leadership will not do the party any good as the civic body polls are round the corner. I will urge the party high command to back Niranjan Patnaik,” he said.
Bahinipati maintained that though Congress workers are united, there are divisions among the leaders at the top. He requested all the senior leaders of the party, including former OPCC presidents Jaydev Jena and Sarat Patnaik and the incumbent to join hands so that the party can perform well in urban local body elections. Senior Congress leader Suresh Kumar Routray said the meeting has been convened to discuss measures to strengthen Congress organisation for the 2024 elections.
Interestingly, there is no lobby by any Congress leader for the State chief post even after the resignation of Patnaik. Most of the leaders do not see any chance of revival of the party in Odisha in the near future if it continues to function without adopting any course correction. Many of them do not want to disturb the status quo, as they are not confident of a good performance by the party in the civic body polls.
Patnaik had quit after the election results were declared.