“11 candidates in Congress for CM post”

Former minister and senior Congress leader Suresh Routray popularly known as Sura Bhai was recently in the news by exposing sensitive affairs of State Congress before party high command Rahul Gandhi. He said 11 candidates are competing for chief minister post in Odisha which is downgrading the party strength. Let’s have a chat with him-

Q, You are in news after giving statement about Odisha Congress before Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi recently. What did you tell him that drags you to the headlines of news?

A, When Rahul Ji gave me chance to say something, I told him that position of the party is good. But problem is that Congress has 11 CM candidates. I also took some names- Upendra Singh, Niranjan Patnaik, Chandrasekhar Sahu, Sarat Patnaik, Prasad Harichandan, Kishor Patel- and left the name of rest inadvertently. Rahul asked me in a lighter vein that why did you leave rest of the names. Then I told others’ name- Bhakta Das, Lulu Mohapatra, Anant Sethy, Narasingh Mishra and Ramachandra Khuntia. If we want Congress to come to power, we have to reunite them. He replied me that let’s do that.

Q, As you are saying that 11 chief ministerial candidates in your party, do you think that the party can manage along with the eleven leaders?

A, They all are rank-III leaders not first class leader. They are crazy for power. That is why they are competing among themselves. As the young leaders like Sarat Patnaik, Jayadev Jena have become the PCC chief, so they are thinking that why should not they? This is all are outcome of their ego. Most of the leaders are trying to defeat their own party candidates, which was recently happened in BMC polls. As a result, Naveen Patnaik is taking the advantage.

Q, Who are they conspiring against party candidates? If you had known about that why did not you inform the matter to the PCC chief?

A, I do not want to be their personal enemy by uttering names on public. Anyway, I do not care anybody. But this is happening in the party. I have told everything to the PCC president. But he is very innocent. He can do anything. Only party high command Rahul Gandhi and Odisha in-charge BK Hariprasad can do. They should initiate strong action against the rebel leaders irrespective of ranks and designations. Then discipline could be restored in the party.

Q, If you are given the charge of PCC chief, how could manage the things.

A, I do not have the ambition to hold the top post. If I was offered, I would deny, because I do not have that capacity to control the party. Only Rahul Gandhi can bring back discipline. My suggestion is if any leaders, whosoever he may be, gave anti-party statement before media, then high command should immediately suspend him. If it is done, then discipline will come automatically.

Q, You stated before media there will be no change in PCC after meeting Rahul Gandhi. How could you know it?

A, No, I did not tell that. I just quoted Hariprasad. He told us that there will be no change in the PCC now. You convene PEC meeting and recommend 21 names for MP. Then it would be proceeded to the scrutiny committee.

Q, Do you think that repeated change of PCC chief can change the fate of Odisha Congress?
A, No, I do not believe in that. KP Singhdeo was replaced by Niranjan Patnaik then Jayadev Jena. But there is no change in it. We suggested Rahul Ji to send some leaders of Odisha to other states to work for the party. Niranjan Patnaik has much money. He has knowledge. He should work outside for the party. No need to gather all the leaders in a small place like Odisha.

Q, As you are saying that 11 candidates are competing for chief minister post. Do you think that Congress can grow at this juncture?

A, Yes. why not. I am giving an example. Sheila Dixit remained in power for 14 years in Delhi. Then people of Delhi denounced her. Likewise in Odisha, Naveen Patnaik has been ruling for last 15 years. He is making publicity more than his works. Really, the villages are lacking so many things to be done. I would like to thank Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi for donating 10,000 crores for the development of Bhubaneswar. The contribution of Neheru-Gandhi family is really incredible. They all have sacrificed their lives for the sake of the country. That is why, Congress has become an ocean unlike others.