Cong MLAs Meet Fuels OPCC Leadership Tussle

Prasad Harichandan
Prasad Harichandan

Bhubaneswar: Speculation is rife in political circles over a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party at the house of leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra here on Wednesday.

Some Congress MLAs said the meeting was held to discuss the strategies of the party for the ensuing Assembly session beginning March 20.

Usually the meeting of the Congress Legislature party is held a day before the commencement of the State Assembly session. But this time, the meeting is held a week before the Assembly session.

However, reliable sources said that the meeting was convened to discuss the change of leadership.

While it was not known whether the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Prasad Harichandan did not attend the meeting or he was not invited to the meeting, the other four MLAs—Krushna Sagaria, Kailash Kulesika, Naba Das and K Surya Rao did not attend the meeting.

Talking to media persons after the meeting, Congress chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati said the party MLAs will meet the AICC supremo Rahul Gandhi and apprise him of the party leadership and the position of the party in the state.

Asked about the continuation of Harichandan as the PCC president, Bahinipati said “I don’t know whether I would contest the election if he continues as PCC chief. But my heart says I should not contest.”

He, however, said he is least concerned if there is a change in PCC leadership.

Congress MLA of Sundargarh, Jogesh Singh, who attended the meeting, made it clear that he would never contest the forthcoming elections under the leadership of Harichandan.

Referring to the Bijepur byelection, Singh said the PCC president should be rewarded for his stunning leadership which resulted in the party’s miserable show.

“Time will tell if other MLAs would remain in the Congress under his leadership,” he quipped.

It may be mentioned that Harichandan had reportedly submitted his resignation to the AICC supremo after the poor show of his party in the Bijepur byelection.

Though Harichandan did not confirm his resignation to the media, however, chairperson of the PCC Disciplinary Committee Sandhya Mohapatra said that the AICC supremo Rahul Gandhi did not accept his resignation as he felt that since the general and Assembly elections are due next year, the appointment of new PCC president will not be fruitful as he would not be able to handle the pressure.