OST Political Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 24 :
Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh will be in Bhubaneswar on a 5-hour visit Wednesday, apparently to address a press conference at the PCC office on the new Land Acquisition Bill.
However, the timing of his visit, which comes close on the heels of his party’s crushing defeat at the urban polls, has triggered speculation that he may have been sent by the High Command to deliver a ‘stern’ political message to the rebels within the party, which by all accounts is in a shambles at the moment.
The dismal performance by the party in the last ULB polls has rattled the Central leadership for sure. But according to reliable sources, while the party high command is willing to accept PCC chief Jayadev Jena’s theory that it was dissident activity that led to the party’s dismal show in the urban polls, it is clearly unhappy with the manner in which the PCC chief and the AICC secretary BK Hariprasad have handled the problems of the state unit as well as the ULB elections.
Sources close to PCC chief say the party high command has already made up its mind to stamp out all forms of dissidence within the party. It is willing to take ‘very tough decisions’ even if it means suspending or expelling the ‘so-called top leaders’ from the party, they say.
“The party is supreme and no one is indispensable”, a close Jena aide told OST.
On the other hand, the rebel camp in the party does not appear threatened at all by Jairam’s ‘sudden’ visit.
“We don’t think the party bosses would risk stirring the hornet’s nest. We hope he will talk to all of us and try to get everyone on board for the 2014 elections. He must understand that we may have had issues with Jaydev Jena and Srikant Jena, but not with the party”, said a senior leader of the party who did not want to be named.