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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Leaders of Congress party here avoided commenting on the November 2 meeting between Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) chief Prasad Harichandan and party’s vice president Rahul Gandhi, as the former is expected to show his strength amid talks that the party wants a change of guard in the State.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) sources said, the Congress heir apparent is scheduled to meet chiefs of party’s 33 organisational districts during the day to gauge the mood among the leaders. But given the fact the chiefs’ ‘unawareness’ of the Delhi meet, the senior leaders of the party remain tight-lipped about the outcome of the meet.

Highly placed sources said, at least 10 of the 33 organisational districts have so far not received any official invitation to attend the ‘acid test’ of Harichandan, who hopes that the remaining would do the much required job to show the Gandhi scion that the ensuing panchayat polls can be fought under the leadership of the OPCC chief. If sources are to be believed chiefs of Puri, Bhadrak, Nayagarh, Jagartsinghpur and Koraput districts have no information about the meeting.

“I don’t know anything about the meeting. But I feel it’s not a good sign for the party to hold meeting like this without the knowledge of the district heads,” Rabindranath Mohanty, district chief of Jagatsinghpur said.
Manoranjan Das of Bhubaneswar district echoed Mohanty.

“I have not received a call regarding the meeting either from AICC or form office of Rahul Gandhi. Besides I am also sure that the chiefs who closely watch the development of party’s activities have not received any phone call regarding this,” said Das.

It is also learnt that since chiefs of Jharsuguda, Kendrapara, Cuttack Sadar and Kandhamal districts are the elected representatives of their respective constituencies, and are reportedly waging a war against the OPCC head, they are unlikely to join the November 2 meet.

But those who have been on Harichandan’s side are eager that the meeting would yield a good result.
“We want to contest in the ensuing election (panchayat) under Harichandan. We are extremely hopeful that the meeting will end in a positive note,” Sambalpur district president Sureswar Mishra said.

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