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Congress high command wary of change of guard in Odisha


Reported by Chinmaya Dehury

Bhubaneswar, July 31:

With Odisha Congress leaders making a beeline to the national capital and meeting the high command in the last few days, speculation has predictably begun on a possible change of leadership.

Jaydev Jena: Safe for now?
Jaydev Jena: Safe for now?

But party insiders say there is little possibility of an organisational revamp in the Odisha unit in the near future.

The party leadership apparently does not want to open up a new front at a time when it is itself under fire for the disastrous performance of the party in the last elections.

“If Jaydev Jena is held responsible for the poll debacle, his group will certainly point fingers at party vice-president Rahul Gandhi holding him responsible for the drubbing in the country,” said a Congress leader requesting anonymity.

The same fear has prevented the Congress leadership from going ahead with any change in Assam and Maharastra despite severe internal strife in these state units, he pointed out.

Besides, the Congress high command is also examining the AK Antony committee report constituted to find out the reasons for the poll debacle across the country and suggest measures to strengthen the party. Any action at this stage, therefore, could boomerang on the party, the party feels.

While leader of opposition in the state Assembly Narasingha Mishra met Congress president Sonia Gandhi today, Rajya Sabha MP Ranjib Biswal, along with Subal Sahu and Prakash Behera, had met her yesterday.

Earlier, senior party leaders Sriballav Panigrahi, Ananta Sethy and Jagannath Patnaik have also met the Congress president in the recent past and are believed to have made out a case for a change of guard.

But beset as it is with problems of its own, the party leadership is unlikely to effect a change of leadership in the state unit at this stage notwithstanding PCC president Jayadev Jena’s offer to step down owning moral responsibility for the party’s poor performance in the last elections.