OPCC top post race heats up; battle lines drawn between factions

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Bhubaneswar: Amid voracious demands for the ouster OPCC president Prasad Harichandan, a team of AICC observers’ has arrived in Odisha to take stock of the party situation.

Under such circumstances, several faction groups led by former OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik and senior leader Bhakta Das have started hectic parleys to garner support to throw weight behind their candidature for the top post.

However, all eyes are now on whom the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) members will support and back as the next OPCC chief. Most of the Congress MLAs met at leader of opposition (LoP) Narasingha Mishra’s residence on Friday to chalk out their strategy.

“There have been attempts to suppress the voice of the MLAs since long. We are united and we back Niranjan Patnaik,” said Congress chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati.

MLA Prakash Behera said, “The party’s situation at the grassroots level will be discussed and the CLP will put forth the views and ground reality before the AICC team.”

Prasad Harichandan on the other hand too is trying hard to save his post and is said to have been in close contact with several leaders and district presidents.

Also Read:War of words ensues between Congress leaders 

“There have been a ‘Prasad Hatao’ campaign and Niranjan Patnaik’s name is doing rounds for quite some time. We just want everybody should accept whoever is picked by party high command,” said PCC Treasurer Mohammad Moquim.

The AICC team comprising former Jeetendra Singh and party MPs Tamradhwaj Sahu and Gaurav Gogoi and Odisha in-charge BK Hariparasad arrived in Bhubaneswar tonight.

The team will submit a report to party President Sonia Gandhi who is then likely to take a call on the OPCC chief after holding talks with all the groups, MLAs, MPs and leaders of the party.

The AICC team was constituted following the growing dissent over Prasad’s leadership as the party slipped to third position behind BJP in the Zilla Parishad polls that were held in February.

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