Bhubaneswar: The rift within the Congress party in Odisha is growing day by day with two opposing camp emerging under the patronage of Opposition leader Narasingh Mishra and Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Prasad Harichandan.
In fact, the conflict has become more noticeable with both the camps coming up with two separate blueprints for the upcoming Panchayat polls. Moreover, clarification by team Narasingh that it will contest the Panchayat polls under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi has further added more fuel to the intra-party feud.
According to sources, both the camps will be following different strategies. Team Narasingh has decided to focus on its respective constituencies for which it has finalised a roadmap for campaigning and selection of candidates. The team has clarified that it will not follow the strategy formulated by the PCC chief along with the district presidents rather it will contest the election under the leadership of the party high command Sonia Gandhi.
“We and the PCC share different ideologies. We also want that Congress should make progress. A meeting for Panchayat polls was convened and legislators were not invited. I don’t want to take names but the approach – not anyone, but me – is dangerous,” said Opposition party chief whip, Tara Prasad Bahinipati.
“The Congress Legislature Party has decided to contest the elections under the leader ship of Sonia Gandhi,” said MLA, Kailash Chandra Kulesika.
On the other hand, team Prasad has argued that as per instructions from All India Congress Committee (AICC), Panchayat elections will be fought under the leadership of the PCC chief and the strategies outlined by him after holding discussions with the district presidents.
“Few days back, the AICC had clarified that the Panchayat elections will be fought under the leadership of the PCC chief. There are no doubts here. The Opposition leader is a senior leader of the party and he is very much a part of the party. The Congress will fight this elections united,” said PCC spokesperson, Biswa Ranjan Mohanty.
However, this rift has left the leaders of both the camps in a state of quandary.
“I am open to all suggestions which are beneficial for the party and me no matter whether it comes from the PCC chief or the Opposition leader,” said Kandhamal district president and G Udayagiri MLA, Jacob Pradhan.