Politics over a probable change in the leadership of the Odisha Congress is warming up with senior leader Dr A Chellakumar starting deliberations with other top state leaders. The state unit president and CLP leader are likely to be changed soon.
Party sources said the process had already started and the state unit was likely to get a new chief in the first week of May, while the party will be preparing accordingly for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Amid growing demand for a change in the leadership of the state unit, Chellakumar chaired a crucial meeting with senior leaders, including MLAs and former state presidents.
He held discussions with senior leaders like Sharat Pattnaik, Mohd Mokim, Bhakta Das, Jaydev Jena and Prasad Chandan. After the meetings, a report will be submitted to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and, soon, the state president will be announced.
Chellakumar said, “I have held a discussion with all the senior leaders, MLAs and former PCC presidents regarding the change of leadership. Since the PCC president Niranjan Patnaik has submitted his resignation, the process has started. MLAs have recommended the name. I will report to the AICC president after discussions with all. The name of the new PCC president is expected to be announced soon.”
“I have resigned. I know the process is now underway. I am happy to be free. I am a disciplined member of the team. No matter who will be president, I will work for the organisation,” said the outgoing president Patnaik.
Some leaders, meanwhile, demanded the resignation of Narasingh Mishra from the post of CLP. The second phase of the meeting discussed the demand of the MLAs and they said they were in favour of the change. Mishra could be replaced by Kantabanji MLA Santosh Singh Saluja, sources said. In addition, a working president will also be announced.
Saluja said, “We told Chellakumar about the change of PCC president and the leader of CLP. The new PCC president is expected to be announced in the first week of May. A competent leader will be the new PCC president.”
“There was a detailed discussion about teams and organisations and how to strengthen the party. The main focus is for the 2024 election,” said Cuttack-Barabati Congress MLA Mohd Mokim.