Bhubaneswar: After the Congress legislators met party President Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi recently setting off a rumour regarding removal of Prasad Harichandan as the PCC chief, a meeting of Niranjan Patnaik and some senior Congress leaders with Opposition leader Narasingha Mishra at the latter’s residence here today set tongues wagging again.
Though the leaders present at the closed-door meeting did not mention what transpired between them at Narasingha’s residence, sources with the knowledge of the matter said the leaders discussed whether they will chalk out a new game plan or wait till the panchayat polls get over.
After the meeting with Narasingha Mishra, Niranjan, who was holding the former PCC chief post earlier, said, “Whether he (Prasad) has done well or not and what is the prevailing situation in the State will be understood only after the exam. If a student says he/she will secure 80% in his academic examination, will the parents of the students will believe his/her version without waiting for the results to come out.”
Niranjan jibed, “Equations will be made within the Congress. There is no question why no such things will happen as we are having the kind of coordination.”
On the other hand, Narasingha said, “I will request the media not to create smoke without fire.”
Anant Sethi, a senior Congress leader, who was part of the team that met Sonia and Rahul in Delhi, stated, “The way the party is going on we discussed with the party president and vice president on what can be done to strengthen the party organisation in Odisha. We hope our demands will be met.”
Without going into details, Sethi said, “In the past many things had happened and the same is going to happen now.”
Feigning ignorance about the demand for removal of Prasad, Congress spokesperson Ganeshwar Behera said, “As per my knowledge, never any demand for dismissal of the present PCC chief was made,” adding he was not keen to discuss internal matters of the party in media.
Also read: Prasad meets Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi
Meanwhile, statement of Congress chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati during a debate telecast on OTV brought open the rift in the party in public.
Bahinipati said, “It is not completely false that the party MLAs are displeased with the way the State Congress is functioning in Odisha.”
Calling upon the displeased party leaders to resolve the issues through talks with him, PCC chief Prasad Harichandan after his return from Delhi where he met Rahul Gandhi, said, “If there is any lack of coordination between the party MLAs and organisation due to my fault, the same will be addressed. We will strive to work together as the party’s Central leadership have faith on us.”