Sonia hand-picks Niranjan as new PCC chief

Bhubaneswar: Veteran Congress leader and former minister Niranjan Patnaik on Tuesday took over as the new PCC president replacing former minister K P Singh Deo.

The announcement was made by AICC General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi which put all speculations to rest.

As the outgoing PCC president K P Singh Deo’s tenure ended last year, the state leaders entrusted party high-command and AICC President Sonia Gandhi to pick the PCC president after an one-line resolution was passed here in September last year.

After it was decided that UPA Chairperson would select the state unit president, many leaders harped on lobbying at 10, Janpath to turn the tables on their favour. The frontrunners for the coveted post included—Chandrasekhar Sahu, Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra, and Bhaktacharan Das.

Now, the incumbent PCC president faces many challenging tasks ahead. The party which showed dismal performance in the last three Assembly elections and is out of power for the last 11 years, would try to put the acts together keeping in view the panchayat elections to be held in 2012. However, Niranjan Patnaik has exuded confidence that the party would perform better under his leadership.

The senior Congress leader, who made inroads to the state Assembly four times, was elected from Ramchandrapur constituency for the first time in 1980.