Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, April 24:
In a statement that signals an escalation of the rift within the Congress in Odisha, senior party leader Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra (Lulu) on Wednesday fired another salvo at the PCC president Jaydev Jena, asking him desist from trying to destroy the party by his reckless comments.
“These are the leaders, who hog all the credit when the party wins and are quick to pass the buck to others whenever they apprehend defeat. The state leadership should carry everyone with it and strive to give a collective fight instead of trying to destroy the party,” Mohapatra told media persons here on Wednesday.
Replying to a question whether there is a need for a change of guard in Odisha Congress, he said, “We want change, but if those in authority are so keen to stick to their position, they can continue to remain at the helm of party affairs for any number of years but, for heaven’s sake don’t divide and ruin the party. It is not in the interest of the party.”
Reacting to Mohapatra’s remarks, Jayadev Jena said Lulu need not worry about running the party because Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi are there to take care of it.
However, Lulu Mohapatra is not the only senior Congress leader to disapprove of Jena’s act of issuing threats of punitive action against some ‘senior leaders of the party’ at a press conference on Tuesday
The chief of the party’s state media cell Narasingha Mishra , who does not belong to any’faction’, has cautioned the PCC president against washing dirty linen in public.
Terming Jena’ s tirade against his adversaries as unfortunate and unnecessary, Mishra said, “The internal matters of the party should not be discussed in a press conference.”
While the party workers and leaders are hoping that the Congress would be able to double its seats in the Assembly this time, no one is willing to give any credit, whatsoever, to the ‘coterie’ that rules the roost in the state Congress – because they believe, if the party does well, it will not be because of them but in spite of them.
Most party leaders, candidates and workers are unhappy with the Jena duo- Srikant and Jayadev- for their their ‘selfish politics’.
A disgruntled party candidate from the Jajpur district told OST, “Both were so unsure of their position in their own constituencies that they had little time to think of the party and fellow candidates. If Jayadev shared the dais with Sonia ji and Rahul ji during the first phase poll campaign, it was to save his chair as the PCC chief. Srikant Jena, who was appointed the state campaign committee chief, simply refused to step out of Baleswar. What message have these insecure leaders given to the voters ?”
A Congress veteran, who was denied a ticket this time, was candid when he said, “As long as the party is led by people who owe their position and prominence to the ‘grace’ of the high command rather than their own worth, the Congress in Odisha will continue to bite the dust.”