Bhubaneswar: The team comprising of Congress MPs Tamrdhwaj Sahu and Gaurav Gogoi and former union minister Jitendra Singh along with the AICC general secretary and Odisha in-charge B.K. Hariprasad met party MP, MLAs, district presidents and senior leaders in their effort to understand the position of the party. There were divergent opinion about change in the leadership and suggestions about new leadership.
While the MLAs under the leadership of leader of the opposition (LoP) Narsingha Mishra are quite vocal in replacing the PCC president Prasad Harichandan, many among
the district presidents are against it. Some of the MLAs are demanding that the former president Niranjan Patnaik be made the new PCC president in place of Prasad. However, many of the senior leaders of the party are against it. Many of the chief of frontal organizations are quite against the move of the MLAs
“The rot is so deep rooted, it is very difficult to bring semblance in the party functioning in the state”, whispered one of the AICC observers.
The AICC observers have realised that removal of Prasad would not bring an end to the problem. Neither, installation of Nirajan would set right things in the party. Rather this would further intensify the internal squabbling in the party.
The way the party MLAs becoming defiant, it would be risky for the party to continue with Prasad. But, making Niranjan the next president budging to the pressure of the MLAs would be more dangerous. For,many in the party are against him.
The observers, however, smelled that Congress in Odisha has the potential to revive its fortune in the state.
“We would submit our report to the high Command . It is up to her to take a decision,”said an observer.
Congress leaders in Odisha, however, expecting that there would be new arrangement for running the party affairs in the state. Instead of an all powrful PCC president, there would be about three to four working presidentsin charge of regions. While Prasad and Niranjan would be accommodated in the hierarchy, leaders like Bhakta Charan Das, Pradip Majhi, Ranjiv Biswal, Srikanta Jena, Jaydev Jena, Chandra Shekhar Sahu may be given higher responsibilities in the new set up. Senior leaders like former chief minister Hemananda Biswal, former union minister KC Lenka, former minister Bhagabat Prasad Mohanty would be given importance in the organizational set up.
The observers may suggest for opening up opportunities for young leaders of the party who are now feeling frustrated due to the infighting at the top level. The meeting with the district presidents gave them an idea of the mental condition of the young brigade of the party. Out of frustration many of the young leaders have left the party in recent times, the district presidents pointed out.
Even though the the AICC observers are going to give their report to Sonia Gandhi immediately after their return to New Delhi, the changes in the Odisha PCC would have to wait for sometime. Since the party is now under election process it would not be possible for the party high command to effect any changes in the party in the state. Odisha Congress would in all probability see the change sometime after the Dussera Puja.