Mrunal Manmay Dash

If the Odisha Congress in particular and Indian National Congress (INC) in whole needed something direly, that was multiple brainstorming sessions by the senior leaders to find ways to stir the ailing political party into winning ways.

Such a brainstorming session, named Chintan Shivir was held at Udaypur in Rajasthan where the Congress high command called on to adopt ‘one family one ticket’ policy to its members.

Upon returning, delegation from Odisha Congress led by current Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) chief Niranjan Patnaik hoped the mantra by the high command would instill renewed vigor in the members.

Speaking at the Bhubaneswar airport, Patnaik told reporters, “The party will give much more importance to the young guns. The organisational strength of the party will be reinforced and the party is going to fair well in the coming elections.”

Asked about Priyanka Gandhi, Patnaik said, “We had a fruitful meeting with her. I have extended a special invitation to her to visit Odisha and she has accepted it.”

However, looking at the track record of the party in Odisha, experts in the know of political affairs suggest that the new formula of ‘one family one ticket’ could spell trouble for the party.

It is pertinent to mention here that dynasty politics is nothing new for the grand old party, even in Odisha. While Niranjan Patnaik contested from both Ghasipura and Bhandaripokhari Assembly seats in 2019, he made his son Nabajyoti Patnaik nominate from Balasore Parliamentary constituency.

Similarly, veteran Congress leader Narasingha Mishra made his son Samarendra Mishra contest from Bolangir MP seat while he himself fought from the Bolangir MLA seat.

Former Union Minister Bhakta Charan Das fought from Kalahandi Lok Sabha seat, while his son Sagar Das contested from Bhawanipatna Assembly seat.

Following the adoption of the new policy, some leaders in Odisha have begun to plan for the future. Jatani MLA, Suresh Routray said, “The party will definitely find development if it shuns dynasty politics. As far as my candidature is concerned, I have decided not to contest the next election, instead, I will make my son fight it out on the field.”

Meanwhile, the political experts find it hard to believe that the Congress unit in Odisha could actually come out of the labyrinth in which it finds itself now.

Rabi Das, a political analyst said, “If at all the Congress can implement the policy on ground, it will definitely help ward off infighting in the party. But the reality seems different. The primary question remains, who will implement the policy on the ground when almost all the senior leaders are involved in dynasty politics.”