Caterwaul over leadership change returns to Odisha Congress

Bhubaneswar: The ugly infighting in the Odisha unit of Congress, which stayed under the lid with the boisterousness of BJD and BJP dominating the news of late, resurfaced today clamouring over leadership change and splitting the members of the party into two camps.

While one camp has been rooting for the incumbent Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Prasad Harichandan, the other team led by senior leader Niranjan Patnaik  vehemently seeks a change in leadership. Even though party leaders have been reprimanded and asked to show-cause over such comments on leadership change on grounds that it is the subject of the high command, voices within the party continue to rise against the current dispensation.

Senior party leader and one of the mainstay of the Prasad camp, Sura Routray today came down heavily on the members voicing their support for Niranjan.

“All the party leaders took tickets and have lost including me. What is Prasad’s fault in this? What have Opposition leader Narsingha Mishra and others like Niranjan, Bhakta Das, Ranjib Biswal done? Tell me who have performed well and I want to know why they are shouting unnecessarily,” questioned Sura.

Refuting such allegations Niranjan said “I have neither taken, asked nor given tickets to anyone. Only change in leadership will not eliminate the problems but all the leaders should, keeping in view the current scenario and the faults and weakness of our party, create an environment where all can work united with a common aim.”

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Later in the day, former Congress MP Pradeep Majhi also hinted the need for a change in leadership of the party unit and said Odisha Congress needs a strong leader as the party is going through a rough time.

Majhi who recently relinquished his post of vice president PCC, owning responsibility of the Panchayat Poll debacle, said he is not interested in taking over the reins and the leadership should be handed over to someone on the basis of performance.