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Rift in State Congress widens as Prasad, Niranjan observe foundation day celebrations separately

 Rift in Odisha unit of the Congress becomes more glaring today when Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) President Prasad Harichandan and his biggest critic Niranjan Patnaik observed the foundation day separately at Bhubaneswar and Cuttack respectively today.

While Prasad repeated his ‘We, not I’ tagline and exhorted the party workers to reach out to people in every nook and corner of the State, Niranjan reminded the party workers that Congress, even having nobler ideology compared to those of other political parties in the country, has become weak in Odisha primarily due to inefficiency of its leaders in the State.

Speaking at a function to mark Congress’ 133rd foundation day at the party’s State headquarters here, Harichandan asked the workers to strive hard for bringing back the party to power. “Our party activists are getting rejuvenated after Rahul Gandhi took charge as the President of Congress party”, he added. Calling upon all factions in the party to work unitedly, Prasad said the loss in last Panchayat election has become an eye opener for the party. Earlier, Harichandan unfurled the party flag to mark the occasion.

Several party leaders including former central Minister Srikant Jena, former State Minister Suresh kumar Routray, Former PCC chief Jayadeb Jena were present on the occasion.

Niranjan who did not attend the celebrations at the party’s State headquarters unfurled Congress flag at Swaraj Ashram in Cuttack and addressed the gathering there. Needless to say that Niranjan has been spearheading anti-Prasad campaign in Odisha Congress and fueling the movement for a change in the OPCC leadership. However, there has been a lull in his camp especially after Rahul Gandhi took over reigns of the party because the latter has been foiling all attempts made earlier to oust Prasad.  

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Odisha Legislative Assembly Narasingha Mishra said he does not favour an alliance between ruling BJD and opposition Congress in Odisha to check the saffron surge in the State. “I am not in favour of an alliance between BJD and Congress. I am sure, there will be no alliance between the Congress and BJD,” Mishra told reporters today. However, the Congress veteran said if Congress is organised, of course, it will emerge a numero uno party in Odisha.

Earlier in October, BJD vice-president Damodar Rout (Now removed as the party VC) had said that the ruling BJD in Odisha has no hesitation in tying up with the Congress in the Assembly elections to check “communal” forces in the State. He had said that the Congress is a secular party like BJD. However, BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik ruled out any possibility of alliance either with BJP and Congress.


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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