The Odisha Congress is expected to get a new Congress president and a new legislative party leader soon as the party veterans met leader Rahul Gandhi in Delhi and discussed the organisational changes in the state.
Senior Congress MLA Suresh Kumar Routray said, “We gave suggestions to Rahul Gandhi on different ways to strengthen the party from the grassroots level. However, it’s the prerogative of the high command to pick the state Congress leader.”
There is also a rumour in the party circles that many top leaders and former bureaucrats are planning to join the Congress. At the Bhubaneswar Airport today, a meeting between former chief secretary of Odisha Bijay Pattnaik and PCC president Niranjan Pattnaik gave a new impetus to the rumour. However, Bijay Pattnaik said, “It is rumour and I have no such plan to join politics.”
But he said he would look into the matter if he got the offer.
Similarly, senior BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra and former Union Minister Braj Tripathi are also rumoured to be joining the Congress. The three-day visit of state in-charge A Chellakumar last month and his meeting with former Union Minister Tripathi at his residence and a meeting with Mohapatra gave rise to speculations of them joining the party.
The issue of a change of PCC president of Odisha was unsuccessfully discussed during Chellakumar’s visit here last month. Sources said that as names of former OPCC president Sarat Patnaik, Barabati-Cuttack MLA Mohammed Moquim and secretary of All India Congress Committee (AICC) Bhakta Charan Das came up during discussions with various party leaders for the president’s post.
PCC president Niranjan Pattnaik said he had discussed with Rahul Gandhi the issue of his resignation and the new president and Rahul Gandhi emphasized the need for unity and discipline among Congress leaders in the state.