Congress introspection continues; demand for Niranjan as PCC chief grows louder

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Bhubaneswar: The Congress legislature party strongly recommended the name of Niranjan Patnaik as the next PCC president of Odisha on Sunday during the second day of AICC observers’ assessment of scenario in State Congress.

Hours before the legislators-observers talks, party MLAs met together at the residence of Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra in presence of Rajya Sabha MP Ranjib Biswal and chalked out strategy to put forth their demand jointly before the central team.

“We jointly appraised our demand to make Niranjan Patnaik the next PCC president. Infighting in the party led to OPCC’s downfall,” party chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati said.

Party MP Ranjib Biswal stressed on coordination. “We focussed on better coordination among party leaders. We apprised the observers of all what they sought to know from us. If they feel any need of a leadership reshuffle they may report it to the party high command,” he told media after the meeting.

Also Read: AICC observers meet district presidents of OPCC

The observers, Gaurav Gogoi and Tamrdhwaj Sahu and Jitendra Singh, wanted to meet the legislators one after another but the move was rejected by the lawmakers who were firm on meeting them together.

Earlier in the day, they discussed party affairs with former chief minister Hemananda Biswal, former PCC presidents like Jayadev Jena, Niranjan Patnaik, Sarat Patnaik and others. Some were in favour of change of guard in the party while some others wanted structural changes.

“I have given a list of suggestions in written. At least 10 meetings in 10 zones in a month is must and that can lead to upliftment of Congress,” Hemananda said.

Niranjan, however, called upon the leaders to come together for the development of party and State as well. “An individual can’t be held responsible for party’s downfall. Rather we all senior leaders should take moral responsibility for such a situation. I am deeply saddened to see such times in Congress. My only aim is to strengthen the party and also the State,” said former PCC president Niranjan Patnaik.

Later in the day, AICC general secretary in-charge of Odisha BK Hariprasad said the opinions of leaders will be presented before party vice-president Rahul Gandhi. “I don’t want to comment on MLAs’ demand for change of guard in PCC. The views of all leaders like ex-MPs,ex-MLAs, district presidents will be presented before Rahul Ji.  The meeting of leaders with AICC observers will draw positive response,” Hariprasad added.

On day one, the observers had sought views of District Congress Committees (DCC) and the heads of several frontal units who argued in favour of the sitting PCC president Prasad Harichandan.

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