Fresh tremors in Cong as ‘senior leader’ seeks removal of PCC chief

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Bhubaneswar: Intra-party feud in the Odisha Congress has become more open this time with a senior leader urging the party high command and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi to remove Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Prasad Harichandan from his post for his inept leadership in the wake of the party’s miserable show in the recent civic body elections in the state.

However, the PCC president declined to say anything to the media on this after meeting Rahul in New Delhi today.

Drawing the attention of Rahul Gandhi, the letter, written by a leader who has not identified himself but claims to be a former minister and AICC member, has questioned the leadership of the PCC president during whose tenure the Congress had performed miserably in the recent elections to 11 urban local bodies (ULBs).

“In some local bodies, Congress could not even open its account. Out of a total of 138 wards in 11 NACs and Municipalities, Congress got only 11 seats while in terms of percentage of votes, it remained behind the BJP. Besides, in the Zilla Parishad by-elections, the performance of the Congress was pitiable,” the letter stated.

The anonymous leader has marked a copy of the letter to all Congress Working Committee (CWC) members, AICC general secretary, BK Hariprasad and AICC secretary Subhankar Sarkar.

“It has to be admitted that the position of Congress in the state is far from satisfactory. But changing the PCC president will not bring in a sea change in the party. To overcome the weakness of the party, all the leaders must put in their heart and soul together,” former OPCC president NIranjan Patnaik told OTV today.

Referring to the party’s disappointing performance in the civic body elections, he said the entire leadership, including him, is responsible for it. “Here, each individual is a group. What more I can say on this?” he noted.

In his reaction, senior leader and PCC Coordination Committee member Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra said this is not a new thing in the State Congress.

“In the past, we have witnessed such incidents taking place during the tenure of Niranjan Patnaik, Jayadev Jena and now with Prasad Harichandan. It is the character of some of our party leaders, who are up to such nefarious and loathsome activities. I cannot say about these leaders and what intentions they have in their mind. But I must say that their prime motive is to destablise the party. To make Congress trustworthy, all party leaders and workers must work in tandem. The spirit of unity is missing in the party at present. Let us see what happens next,” he pointed out.

Asked about the incident, OPCC spokesperson Sarat Rout said the leadership of the PCC president is by and large satisfactory though it cannot be said that everything is all right. “I don’t think he has not done anything which is detrimental to the party,” he said.

“Those leaders who have become reactionary and are doing more harm than good to the party, should come up and sort out their differences with the PCC chief,” he added.

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