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Pradeep Pattanayak

The demand for a new leadership in the Odisha unit of Congress seems to be growing by the day. 

Days after suffering humiliating debacle in the rural and urban elections in the State, party's senior leader and Jatni MLA Suresh Routray has now pitched for elevation of his Jeypore counterpart and legislator Tara Prasad Bahinipati to the top post. 

In doing so, Routray however did not hesitate to point fingers towards present OPCC head, Niranjan Patnaik for the party's dismal show in series of major elections.

The Jatni MLA accused Patnaik of reducing the party to a shadow of its former self. “Citing health issues, Niranjan Babu is doing nothing but sleeping. This is the reason why the party is becoming weaker by the day,” Routray said wryly. 

On support towards Bahinipati, Routray said, "I agree with his (Bahinipati's) proposal to appoint a sitting legislator to the top post. It will also be better if he is appointed as the next OPCC chief." 

The Congress veteran further added that if a candidate is found more capable, he may also be a good choice. "Congress President Sonia Gandhi should choose a person for the next OPCC president who has the talent to lead the party, sound financial condition and accords respect in the party and the society,” said Routray. 

At the same time, Jeypore MLA Bahinipati too reiterated the same issue of Niranjan Patnaik abstaining himself away from day to day affairs of the party. 

“I have nothing to say about what Niranjan Babu is doing. But one thing I want to point out is that he has not been taking part in the election campaigning, citing health issues as the reason for long. He is getting older and having health related problems often. Besides this, he also has tried to tender resignation from his post several times. In this regard, the AICC should have taken steps by now to initiate a change in guard of the party at the State-level,” said Bahinipati. 

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