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Central observers meet Congress leaders in Odisha amid infighting


Bhubaneswar: Amid talks of a leadership change in the Odisha unit of the Congress, a three-member team of observers appointed by the All India Congress Committee (AICC) chief Sonia Gandhi, on Saturday met district presidents to try and revive the party’s political fortunes in the state.

The observers are taking stock of the political situation as the state unit of the Congress is grappling with infighting, a perennial problem, even as Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Prasad Harichandan continues to face opposition from party legislators.

The team, comprising of Congress MPs Gaurav Gogoi and Tamrdhwaj Sahu and former Union Minister Jitendra Singh, met the presidents of the District Congress Committees (DCC) and the heads of several frontal units, who expressed their opinion on the party’s affairs.

The team was joined by AICC General Secretary and Odisha in-charge B.K. Hariprasad.

The Congress has a total of 33 organisational districts in the state.

“This meeting will be a turning point for the party in Odisha. Soon after this opinion-seeking session, Delhi Durbar will definitely take a decision to revamp and rejuvenate Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee,” said Pradeep Majhi, a former Congress MP.

After meeting the district presidents, the observers would meet the office bearers and leaders of the OPCC in the second phase, said party sources.

Most of the MLAs are demanding a change of guard in the state unit to revive the moribund party, which has been out of power since the last 18 years in the state. The MLAs led by Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra are rallying behind former PCC president Niranjan Patnaik to take over the post.

They had also met Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi in Delhi recently demanding a change in the leadership.

On the other hand, incumbent PCC president Harichandan, who is facing opposition from the legislators, is banking on the feedback from the party’s district presidents to retain his chair. (IANS)