Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, June 22:
In a bid to rejuvenate the party after its worst-ever Lok Sabha poll result, a four member team headed by senior Congress leader AK Antony, which is conducting a postmortem on the debacle, will be meeting Odisha Congress leaders at New Delhi to identify the reasons behind its whitewash in 21 parliamentary seats and drubbing in Assembly polls in the state.
The committee will interact with 16 state Congress leaders, including PCC president Jayadev Jena to identify the main reasons for the defeat and suggest measures to revive the party in the state, which is out of power since 2000. Even though the party managed to win 16 Assembly seats, it failed to block the Naveen Patnaik juggernaut in the Lok Sabha polls and drew a blank.
Among others, former PCC president Niranjan Patnaik, Pradip Majhi, Hemanand Biswal, Sarat Patnaik and youth Congress president will be part of the 16-member team. However, senior leader Narasingha Mishra will not attend the meeting due to health reasons.
According to sources, the change of guard in the state is imminent. However, many senior leaders are not interested to head the faction-ridden party unit at this juncture.
The exercise is being undertaken at the behest of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who has been asked by the party’s apex decison-making body, the Congress Working Committee, to effect the necessary changes in its organisational set-up in light of the poor poll result.
The Antony Committee is supposed to hand over its report to the party president by July 15, sources said.