Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
New Delhi / Bhubaneswar, Mar 11:
Unnerved by the mass exodus of senior leaders and workers from the party, the central leadership of Congress is now on a damage control mode. Thate explains why the senior Odisha leaders were summoned to New Delhi for a co-ordination meeting today aimed at ecploring ways and means of keeping the stock – or whatever is left of it- together ahead of the elections.
The coordination meeting was chaired by the screening committee chief for Odisha Oscar Fernandes and attended by AICC general secretary in charge of Odisha BK Hariprasad, PCC president Jayadev Jena and many other senior leaders of the party including former president Niranjan Patnaik and Narasingha Mishra.
Fernandes has reportedly asked the state PCC leaders to resolve differences and work together and rejuvenate the party rank and file, which by all accounts are a demoralised lot now.
“There is no doubt that Congress has factions. But, if you do not carry all the factions together, the party will lose its entity in the coming elections and that which is what needs urgent attention, ” former PCC president and senior Congress leader Niranjan Patnaik told media persons in New Delhi.
PCC president Jayadev Jena said the party will fight the election with a renewed vigour and will take all the party leaders into confidence to ensure the victory of the party at the husting.
However, many leaders refused to buy Jena’s assurance saying the time to cobble unity within the party has passed and it’s too late in the day.
Party insiders say the disgruntled leaders have already made up their mind to quit the party not only because they would not get tickets but because they feel humiliated at being treated as persona non grata by the leadership.
These leaders are only waiting for the final announcement of the list of candidates for the coming elections.
Meanwhile, the screening committee for odisha is deliberating on selection of candidates for the assembly seats. The final list is likely to be declared as soon as the Central Election Committee gives its nod..