OST Political Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 22 :
How long will Jayadev Jena survive as the PCC chief ?
This is what the rank and file in the beleaguered Congress in the state want to know. What has added credence to the party gossip about Jena’s possible ouster in January 2014 is the recent chucklesome trip he made to Delhi with a group of senior leaders.
Reports say, the PCC president Jayadev Jena on December 19 had flown to the national capital along with several top state leaders including Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh, Prasad Harichandan, Sriballav Panigrahi and Kishore Patel apparently for a meeting with Rahul Gandhi.
These senior leaders had agreed to accompany him because Jena had reportedly told them that an appointment has been fixed with Rahul Gandhi and that the idea was to congratulate him for the passing of the Lok Pal bill and also use the occasion to wish him merry Christmas and a happy new year !
Sources said, after their arrival in Delhi, the senior leaders along with party MPs who were also to join the delegation realized that Jena had taken them for a ride. Despite desperate efforts by Jena and the AICC general secretary in charge of Odisha BK Hariprasad over two days , the so-called appointment with Rahul Gandhi never materialized.
And if sources are to be believed, Rahul’s office not only snubbed both Jena and Hariprasad with a blunt ‘no’ to the request for brief meeting but also conveyed Rahul’s reprimand as to why the party leaders were camping in Delhi when they should be busy campaigning for the municipal polls.
Frustrated, the state leaders and party MPs who were eager to meet Rahul Gandhi, headed for Union minister Srikant Jena’s residence where they directed their ire against Jaidev Jena who they felt was responsible for their humiliation.
With no hope left for even a cursory ‘darshan’ of the big boss, Jayadev Jena and the state leaders had to board the flight back home.
Sources in the party say, Jayadev had planned the Delhi trip following advice from his ‘Dilli mentors’ who had asked him to air dash to Delhi with a group of senior leaders and meet with Rahul Gandhi. The idea was to use the senior leaders to impress upon the big boss that Jena was doing his best to rejuvenate the party but the dissidents who were after his blood for being a ‘dalit’, were playing spoilsport.
A low profile senior Congress leader told OST that Jena’s Delhi trip was a last-ditch attempt to defend his chair which is under threat at the moment.
“ The senior bosses of the party now realize that Rahul’s Dalit- Adivasi card would not work and concede it had failed to deliver in both Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh. The changes that were last made in Odisha PCC were inspired by this failed theory. Now , it is up to them to decide whether they will persist with this theory and bite dust or make amends before it is too very late,” the leader said.