Bhubaneswar: The Congress is likely to appoint a president for its Odisha unit within a week. This information was given by the party’s state in-charge A Chellakumar. He provided this information after he held a series of meetings here Tuesday with senior Congress leaders of Odisha. Chellakumar met party lawmakers, former MLAs and MPs, former Odisha Congress presidents and chiefs of different frontal organisations throughout the day.
“Incumbent state Congress president Niranjan Patnaik has submitted his resignation. So it is my duty to hear the views of all the leaders, including lawmakers, for selecting someone to lead the party,” Chellakumar told reporters. “We want a leader who can take all the party leaders together and perform. The objective of making the change of guard in the Odisha Congress is to rejuvenate the party and bring it back to power,” added Chellakumar.
After a series of dismal electoral performances, including the recently-held panchayat and civic polls, the Odisha unit of the Congress is saddled with growing resentment.
“I will submit a report to the AICC president and the party will announce the name of the new state Congress president soon. The name may be announced in three-four days or a week,” said Chellakumar who is also a AICC general secretary.
Patnaik had submitted his resignation as the state Congress president after the 2019 elections. However, he is yet to be relieved from the post.
On the suggestion by the party’s Jeypore MLA Taraprasad Bahinipati that a sitting legislator be made the president, Chellakumar said that different names are being considered.
However, he dismissed the speculation about the resignation of Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Narasingha Mishra. “In politics, rumours do make rounds,” Chellakumar pointed out.
Mishra also had a one-to-one meeting with Chellakumar. “I had a discussion on different important issues. I may say something when the time comes,” Mishra informed.
Congress MLA from Kantabanji in Bolangir SS Saluja said some MLAs have sought a change of the CLP leader as well.
Patnaik meanwhile said that he was happy that the AICC started the process of selecting a new state president. “I will support any leader chosen by the party’s high command,” he said.
Among the names doing rounds for the post are former state Congress president Sarat Patnaik, Cuttack-Barabati MLA Mohammad Moquim and AICC general secretary Bhakta Charan Das. “We will support whoever the AICC chooses for the post,” Moquim said.