Will OPCC see a change of guard on May 6?

Bhubaneswar/New Delhi: The Congress central leadership, in all likelihood might announce a revamp in its Odisha chapter on May 6. Though speculation was rife regarding the change of guard in Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) for quite sometime, the whispers have given way to murmurs after party vice-president Rahul Gandhi met some State leaders on Thursday. Gandhi has called for a meeting of all MLAs and senior leaders of the party for a meeting in New Delhi on Saturday.

Former OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik, who along with ex-parliamentarians Pradeep Majhi and Bhakta Charan Das called on Gandhi at his New Delhi residence said, he (Rahul) will discuss party affairs with the State leaders.

“He (Rahul) is keen to discuss the party issues with all the legislators and leaders. Though we are not sure what he wants to discuss with the members, we expect the discussion will be on how to strengthen the party at grassroots level before the general elections in 2019,” Patnaik stated.

“He has asked all of us to meet him on May 6,” he noted.

Amid speculation that Patnaik is a frontrunner among the OPCC chief aspirants, all three had a discussion with AICC in-charge of Odisha affairs BK Hariprasad at his residence.

Majhi, who recently relinquished his post of OPCC vice president, owning responsibility for 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.

It is learnt that post Panchayat Poll, the party’s State unit is ‘divided’ into two camps. While one camp has been rooting for the incumbent OPCC chief Prasad Harichandan, the other team led by Niranjan Patnaik vehemently seeks a change in leadership.