Bhubaneswar Diary: Who is heading state Congress now?

Things have gone to such an extent that no senior leader is available at the Congress Bhawan to react to any state-level development.
OPCC president Sarat Pattanayak
OPCC president Sarat Pattanayak(Photo | X @SaratPatINC)

With most senior leaders facing defeat in the recently-concluded polls and Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) chief Sarat Pattanayak likely to move out, Congress at present seems to be a party without any direction. Things have gone to such an extent that no senior leader is available at the Congress Bhawan to react to any state-level development.

Although very much present in the capital city, Pattanayak seems disinterested to visit the state headquarters after the ink attack on him. He had visited Congress Bhawan only once after the incident to condemn the hurling of stones and cow dung on the poster of former party president Rahul Gandhi in front of the party headquarters. A senior leader said the situation might continue till arrival of the two-member committee comprising Ajay Maken and Tariq Anwar on July 14 to analyse the reasons behind the party’s poor performance in the elections. He said a new set of office-bearers is likely to be announced after the review of the poll performance. Till then, the party leaders will have to wait as the Congress Bhawan remains no longer safe for them because of possible attack from detractors, he remarked.

The lavish luncheon that turned awkward

Ever since the Mohan Charan Majhi government came into being, several ministers in his cabinet barring a few, have constantly been raising a hue and cry about issues that are not even related to their departments. Some of them are often seen accompanied by a group of supporters (not necessarily BJP workers) during their first visit to different offices or project sites. In one such instance, a cabinet minister who had raised eyebrows by cornering two most lucrative departments as a first-time MLA, recently visited a corporate office under his jurisdiction.

As the corporation is executing projects worth hundreds of crores in all urban centres of the state, the minister reached the office at the appointed time with a large band of supporters much to the consternation of the corporation honchos. Since this was his first visit, heads of the PSU had made elaborate lunch arrangements for him from a reputed city hotel. However, everything went haywire when the minister wanted that his supporters (around 20 people) too, be served the same food as him. Now to meet his unexpected demand, almost all staff of the corporation had to part with their meals as no food was left after serving the minister and his men.

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