New Delhi: Putting all speculations to rest, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) today named senior party leader Niranjan Patnaik as the president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC).
Congress President Rahul Gandhi appointed Patnaik with immediate effect, stated a press release issued by the AICC.
Patnaik replaced Prasad Harichandan as the OPCC president.
Reacting to the development, Patnaik stated, “Rahul Gandhi has taken the decision while respecting the wishes of supporters of Congress and people of the State. Democracy in the party has been maintained. I hope that the party organisation will be strengthened in the State.”
“Time has come to give priority to youth leadership and Congress will encourage new faces so that the party will be strengthened for the next 20-30 years,” he added.
Patnaik further stated, “I accept that the Congress is in a weak position in Odisha. With collaborative efforts, hard work and dedication, the results will be different.”
The AICC also appointed party legislators Naba Das and Chiranjib Biswal, and former MP Pradeep Majhi as three working presidents of OPCC.
Bhakta Charan Das has been appointed chairperson of the campaign committee whereas former PCC president Jayadev Jena will be the core committee chairperson.
Sarat Patnaik, who is also another former OPCC chief, has been appointed the convener of the core committee, as per the AICC statement.
While former Chief Minister Hemananda Biswal will be the new chairperson of the disciplinary committee, Srikant Jena has been named as the chairperson of the manifesto committee. Sarat Rout has been appointed as the convener of the party’s manifesto committee for Odisha.
AICC Odisha in-charge Jitendra Singh will be the chairperson of the coordination committee.
Jagannath Patnaik will be the convener of the party’s coordination committee in Odisha.
“A team comprising of senior leaders and young members has been announced. Congress' national president hopes that the party will be strengthened with the new team and will come to power in 2019,” said Jitendra Singh.
Replying to a media query, Singh stated, “The fight is against both BJD and the BJP. Apart from this, Congress will fight for the people of the State."
Accepting that Congress' position is weak in the State, newly-appointed PCC working president Chiranjib Biswal said, “If all party members work together, we will be able to present the failures of the State government and the Centre before people of Odisha in a better way.”
Another newly-appointed working president of the party Naba Das said, “We would reach out to people and tell them how both the State government and the Centre have cheated them.”
“A new chapter of the Odisha Congress has begun. As in a short period we have to work a lot, the Odisha congress will work as a team,” said Pradeep Majhi.
On the other hand, BJP legislature party leader KV Singh Deo said, “Usually when a party President is appointed, the leader is allowed to choose his team. But in this case, the team has also been chosen. Whatever the case may be, I wish him (Patnaik) all the best. Let’s see how they will perform.”
Reacting to the development, ruling-BJD's Sambalpur legislator Raseswari Panigrahi said, “It is their internal party matter; I have nothing much to say. But looking at the condition of Congress, it seems they have to work a lot. I wish him all the best.”