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Odisha Congress stalwart castigates PCC, demands early AICC intervention

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Reported by Chinmaya Dehury

Bhubaneswar, June 1:

Even as uncertainty prevails over the fate of PCC president Jaydev Jena after the disastrous performance in the recently concluded Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, former minister and senior Odisha Congress leader Sriballav Panigrahi today hit out at the state Congress leadership and demanded a postmortem of the debacle by the AICC at the earliest to replace the inefficient and rejected leadership with those who have the experience and skills of leading the organisation.

Sriballav Panigrahi, Senior Congress leader
Sriballav Panigrahi, Senior Congress leader

In a hard-hitting letter addressed to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the the three-time MP and former minister Panigrahi  said, “Results of recent general elections are shocking and demoralising for Congress and its supporters. This is the biggest tragedy the party is facing since independence.”

Lamenting that the Congress could not encash on the anti-incumbency factor leading to its drubbing at the hustings due to a weak  and inept party leadership in the state, Panigrahi said the  people at the helm of affairs in the party were disconnected from ground realities and grass roots level workers.

Many other senior party leaders have already demanded that a special session for introspection be called immediately to find out what went wrong and who were the people responsible for the poll rout and at the same time map out the way forward.

On his part, OPCC president Jayadev Jena has said  he has owned up the responsibility for the drubbing and requested the AICC president Sonia Gandhi to take a final call on Odisha leadership.

However, the PCC leadership is dillydallying over holding the executive and office bearers meetings for fear of being hounded by dissident leaders.

The Congress, which was in sight of wresting power from the BJD by the end of 2012 suffered a big jolt when the leadership was handed over to a dalit-OBC combine by the Rahul brigade in its effort to cleanse the party of the imaginary Patnaik ghost.

In the last polls, Congress could win only 16 assembly seats, as compared to 27 in 2009. In 2004, the party had 38 MLAs. Similarly, in the Lok Sabha polls, it could not even open its account. In 2009, it had six MPs from the state.