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Prasad to continue as Odisha Cong chief; no change of guard for now

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Bhubaneswar: The rival faction in state unit Congress rallying for change of guard in the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) will have to put a lid on discontent for the time being as AICC President has ruled out any such possibility.

The Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who had been sitting over the decision since months, has sprung the surprise by not going for an organisational overhaul, seemingly buoyed by the recent Gujarat Assembly election results.

“The Congress President Shri Rahul Gandhi has taken a decision that the Presidents of all Pradesh Congress Committees, Regional Congress Committees and Territorial Congress Committees will continue in their posts after the Organisational Election also unless some decision is taken to replace them,” AICC General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi said in a release today.

Several senior leaders in the state had been pitching for former minister Niranjan Patnaik as the favoured candidate for the top post.

With discontentment swelling withing rank and file of the grand old party, the members moved the then vice president Rahul Gandhi several times seeking leadership change. The Gandhi scion held closed-door discussions with state leaders in groups as well as one-on-one, giving rise to speculation that Prasad Harichandan’s ouster was a matter of time.

The political fahrenheit shot in state with every Delhi trip and plummeted with even greater rapidity.

Prasad, however, maintained stoic silence over the issue till a latest interview to media where he claimed that factionalism within the party is gone and it is bouncing back. The statement came after party’s unexpected success in recent Gujarat elections.

It remains to be seen how Prasad binds the faction-ridden unit of the 132-year-old party which stood a distant third in the three-tier panchayat elections held in February last year.

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