Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 1:
After weeks of hostility between the factions led by Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra and PCC President Prasad Harichandan, as many as 22 District Congress Committee (DCC) presidents of Odisha Congress have been scheduled to meet AICC Vice President Rahul Gandhi – likely at 4 PM tomorrow.
Several sources in the party confirmed the scheduled meet. Curiously though, no one seemed to know who exactly has organised this meeting, how many of the DCC chiefs are visiting and what exactly would be discussed.
While some said 22 DCC presidents have been summoned by Rahul Gandhi’s office and the message was relayed through PCC Chief’s office, a DCC president himself claimed to have received a call Odisha in-charge BK Hariprasad’s office. There were even reports of a former PCC President persuading these DCC presidents against visiting Delhi.
Interestingly, many of the DCC presidents appeared clueless and undecided.
“I am not sure of what is happening. There is confusion. Someone is saying that there is a call from Rahul Gandhi’s office, others say PCC President is sending them Delhi. Someone from Jajpur told me that he received a call from BK Hariprasad’s office. I am yet to receive any communication at all,” said Manoranjan Dash, Bhubaneswar DCC President.
“I have received a communication to meet Vice President Rahul Gandhi. We are supposed to discuss the panchayat polls with him,” said Dhenkanal DCC President Sudhir Samal without revealing the source of the communication or confirming the scheduled time of the meeting.
Worse still, party Spokespersons appeared utterly confused.
“I can’t tell you how many district presidents are going. I hear that 15-20 of them have been scheduled to visit. I got to know it from the press. Probably, others would visit on a later date. We have not been told about the meeting,” said a helpless sounding Odisha Congress Spokesperson Sulochana Das.
“There are 33 DCC presidents. There are reports that only 22 are going. Where are the remaining 11 presidents,” questioned Bhadrak MLA Ananta Sethi, who met LoP Mishra along with former PCC President Niranjan Patnaik few days back giving rise to speculations on yet another rift in the trouble-torn party.
“Some of the DCC presidents are going to meet Rahul Gandhi. The drawing room of Rahul Gandhi can accommodate only 15-20 people. It will not look good to call 50 people, make them stand there and hold a meeting,” was the hilarious reply from another Spokesperson Hamid Hussain who was commenting on Sethi’s statement.
“This is an attempt to clean up Congress before the upcoming panchayat polls,” said Sarat Rout without revealing any specifics.
Reacting to Rout’s statement former PCC Chief Niranjan Patnaik said, “Congress is a very old party. It must have gathered dust somewhere or the other. It is good that a cleanup drive has begun, but it must be known – who is the dust here”.