The Congress might be heading towards serious trouble in the state of Odisha after a section of the state’s legislators have threatened to quit the party over differences with their state party chief.
As per an Indian Express report, a section of the party has openly asserted that they would rather quit than serve under the leadership of the current state party chief Prasad Harichandan. As per the report, some leaders have conveyed that they would express their dissatisfaction of the party chief with the party’s national leadership during the All India Congress Committee (AICC), which starts on March 16th.
Jogesh Singh, the party’s MLA from Sundergarh, has made his views crystal clear by asserting that Harichandan’s leadership “isn’t right”. As per him, Congress isn’t gaining organisational strength and that he would not fight the election under the current state chief’s leadership. He also threatened to change his political party after consulting with his voters.
Another MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati echoed a similar sentiment by claiming that his mind is telling him not to fight elections under Harichandan. Currently, the party has a total of 16 MLAs in the state.
Such a saga in Odisha Congress began in about a week back, when the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC)’s disciplinary committee chairperson, announced that the party’s state leadership won’t see any change till 2019. She further claimed that only party president Rahul Gandhi had a right to take a decision over the state party chief’s position.
This was objected to by the senior leader Sarat Rout who questioned why the AICC wasn’t speaking to other state leaders regarding the matter.
The issue has kept simmering since then and as per local reports, various MLA’s congregated at opposition party leader Narasingha Mishra’s house to formulate strategies for ousting Harichandan as party chief.
The animosity against Harichandan seems to have grown since the party lost its deposit in the state’s Bijepur bypoll in February. The party had earlier won the seat three consecutive times.
This possible setback in Odisha might compound problems for the party, which recently suffered a humiliating defeat in Gorakhpur and Phulpur by-bolls, by losing deposits in both the seats.
The Congress incidentally also had to deal with a mutiny in Bihar, after its former state chief Ashok Choudhary was allegedly involved in engineering a rebellion. He was later sacked from his post by the central leadership.
This wasn’t the end of the drama and later two party factions with one being Ashok Choudhary’s followers were involved in a fight, with one group chanting Narendra Modi Zindabad. The trouble in the state continues till date, with four suspended Bihar Congress leaders joining the JD(U) this February.