Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 15:
Ending months of speculation, the AICC today named former minister Prasad Harichandan as the new Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president. He will replace incumbent PCC chief Jaydev Jena.
The AICC decision is in line with the party’s new found emphasis on youth.
Speculation about a change of guard in the PCC has been rife for the past week or so and especially after 13 party leaders, including seven MLAs, left for New Delhi and met the party’s central leadership, includiing vice president Rahul Gandhi.
After being named PCC chief, Harichandan said he would take all sections within the Congress along and rebuild the party from the grassroots level.
“I am an ordinary worker of the party and would seek the blessings of all senior leaders and cooperation of frontal organisations to revive the party in the state,” he said. “It will be a collective leadership,” he added.
“The challenge for me is how to restore confidence in the party in the minds of people. We have the confidence that we can do it,” he said thanking Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi for giving him this ‘difficult responsibility’ at this ‘crucial juncture’.
Harichandan was elected MLA from the Satyabadi constituency four times and had been a minister in the Odisha government and the party’s chief whip in the Assembly in the past. He, however, lost the last Assembly election from the same constituency.
He has frequently put the BJD government on the mat with his sharp interventions during debates in the Assembly.