Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Mar 13:
While many senior leaders are deserting the Congress party blaming the state leadership for neglecting them, some Congress leaders have decided to shoot off a missive to the party high command Sonia Gandhi to have arrest the slide before it sinks in the coming elections.
It was decided at a meeting held by some senior Congress leaders, including Congress chief whip Prasad Harichandan, Chiranjib Biswal, Ranjib Biswal and Lalatendu (‘Lulu’) Bidyadhar Mohapatra (Lulu). The meeting, held at the residence of Lulu Mohapatra, brought former rivals together to fight against the state leadership, particularly Union Minister Srikant Jena.
They have decided to write a letter to the Congress president Sonia Gandhi apprising her of the prevailing situation of the party.
“Desertion of senior leaders from the party and that too after blaming the state leadership does not augur well for the party. We will inform the high command about the current situation of the party soon. We will request the party leadership to take immediate steps in the matter,” said Harichandan without divulging much of what exactly transpired at the meeting.
The leaders have decided to prepare a blue print to strengthen the party, which would be presented to the party high command.
“We will deliberate over the issue as to why senior leaders are deserting the party before the elections. Besides, we will also give some suggestions on how to stem the rot and strengthen the party,” said Chiranjib Biswal.
Sources, however, said the leaders are not happy with the style of functioning of Union Minister Srikant Jena and PCC president Jaydev Jena, who are at the helm of affairs in the state Congress.
“The Jena brothers have recommended several names to the Central leadership as candidates without consulting the state leaders. They have given tickets to rank outsiders, people who are not even primary members of the party. This raises questions on the integrity of the state leadership about how the tickets are being distributed,” said a senior leader of the party, who is well aware of the meeting.
Without naming Srikant Jena, whose origin is from a non-Congress party, the leader alleged that the state leadership is trying to distribute tickets to his loyalists ignoring real Congress leaders.