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Irked Congress leaders to wage pitched battle for OPCC chief Prasad’s ouster




 Upset over large scale migration of Congress leaders to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the lawmakers have decided to wage a pitched battle to oust Odisha PCC Chief Prasad Harichandan.

Sources said the Congress leaders will also demand removal of AICC Odisha In-Charge BK Hariprasad, who has been often blamed for the present state of affairs of the party.  This comes a day after closed-door meeting of Congress legislators held at the official residence of the Leader of Opposition (LoP) Narasingha Mishra here.

Congress Lawmakers have time and again raised the issue of change of guard in Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) as the leadership has failed to save the grand old party from frequent electoral debacles.  A party lawmaker said his colleagues have met AICC bosses at least four times and now it is their last bid.  Sources with Congress Chief Whip in State Legislative Assembly Taraprasad Bahinipati have said this move is to save Congress from total collapse.

Senior  MLA from Jeypore Bahinipati, two other MLAs—Prafulla Majhi and Jogesh Singh have demanded a change of guard in the State unit and have sought time from AICC Vice President Rahul Gandhi on June 16-17 to discuss the matter with him.  As Gandhi will not be available on both the days at Delhi, they may meet him on June 18, sources said.

He recently suggested that not just the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC),  the party’s leadership needed to be changed and structural changes in existing rank and file were also imperative for its revival. However, the senior Congress lawmaker said that the decision to bring about any change in the party’s present rank and file was always the prerogative of the party’s High-command.

Interestingly, a couple of days back, the former Chairperson of Nabarangpur Zilla Parishad and senior Congress leader Manjula Majhi had joined the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) citing ‘infighting’ as the main reason behind her decision. Manjula, the grand-daughter of tribal freedom fighter Bagga Pujari, is an influential tribal woman leader of Nabarangpur district.

Earlier, Congress leader Chhabi Mallick, and party’s two times former MLA from Aul, Dolagobinda Nayak had joined the BJP. The State unit of the Congress had also faced a major jolt after party’s former Nayagarh District Chief Lala Manoj Ray joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Congress District President Sudhir Samal left the party to join BJD along with large number of supporters. Similarly, two prominent leaders of the State unit of the Congress— Surendra Panda of Dharmasala and Pradip Balsamant of Sukinda— had joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) along with hundreds of supporters.

Demand for the Change of Guard in the PCC got louder reportedly in the wake of party’s debacle in this year’s Panchayat polls.  So after the debacle in rural poll, they went to meet AICC Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Gandhi promised them to change PCC Chief by 31 May.

However with no change in Leadership now they have decided to move to Delhi and demand change of PCC Chief and AICC In Charge.






Editorial

Précis 2017
From asking his party men to ‘live a simple life and serve the people’ to taunting the BJP for its ‘crocodile tears’, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has not only become politically invincible, he seems to be so in the coming years too.

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