Bhubaneswar: The demand for change in guard in the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) has intensified with three heavyweight Congress leaders supporting Niranjan Patnaik who is in a race with Bhakta Charan Das as the new PCC chief.
As per sources, All India Congress Committee (AICC) Vice President Rahul Gandhi has also been informed about the decision.
In an explosive statement today, Sundargarh MLA Jogesh Singh warned the party will be ruined if Niranjan is not made the President. He said he had not recommended the name of Bhakta to All India Congress Committee (AICC) Vice President Rahul Gandhi and will never do it.
"I had been asked by Rahul, I said that there is only one suitable person Niranjan Patnaik and party will revive if he is made the PCC President," added Singh.
Talsara MLA Prafulla Majhi on the other hand said Bhakta becoming PCC chief is a rumour. "All MLAs had taken a decision unanimously and demanded that Niranjan Patnaik should be preferred as the new OPCC chief. Being a former PCC President he has the required experience for the post," added Majhi.
Expressing his support to Niranjan, Congress chief whip and Jeypore MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati said, "I had said earlier and will repeat it, people of Odisha want Niranjan Patnaik as the new PCC chief. I informed the party observer today that former MLAs and supporters of OPCC chief Prasad Harichandan have left the party."
Some Congress leaders decided to remain neutral on the topic letting the Congress high command take the final decision.
Senior Congress leader and former MP Pradeep Majhi said, "It may be personal opinion of some people but the final decision will be taken by Sonia Gandhi and the disciplined leaders of the party are bound to obey the decision."
Congress spokesman Sarat Rout said, "Both are good candidates and both have capacity to handle the responsibility. But high command will appoint the person whom they found more suitable."