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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Congress president Rahul Gandhi today appointed former Union Minister of State for Sports, Jitendra Singh as All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge of Odisha replacing BK Hariprasad.

Earlier last year, Singh had visited the State and held discussions with party leaders at grassroots and submitted a report to the Congress President.

In the plenary session of the AICC, Rahul Gandhi had hinted that young leaders in the party will get major responsibilities. Political experts see Singh’s appointment as a move in that direction.

Reacting to the development, senior Congress leader Niranjan Patnaik said, “Jitendra Singh who has been appointed as Odisha in-charge of party is a young and practical leader. I hope Congress will get organised under his guidance.”

Congress leader Biswaranjan Mohanty stated, “As Rahul had said young leaders will work along with senior leaders, Singh’s appointment is a step in that direction.”

"When senior leaders are leaving Congress, appointment of new Odisha in-charge is seen as a prelude to the change of guard at Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC)," said sources.

As BK Hariprasad and OPCC chief Prasad Harichandan have been managing the party affairs in the State, change in leadership of OPCC is not ill-founded, said sources with knowledge of the matter.

Though BK Hariprasad had been the party’s Odisha in-charge for a considerable time, he had failed to resolve intra-party squabble, said sources.

While the party’s voter base has been shrinking, which is evident from the panchayat polls and the Bijepur by-poll results, appointment of Singh is seen as a move to strengthen party's organisation in the State.

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