Setback to Jena, Prasad Harichandan appointed New OPCC President

Bhubaneswar, Dec 15: Congress leader Prasad Harichandan was finally announced as the OPCC head replacing Jaydev Jena today. He was among the four who were the front runners for the post to revive the party in the state.

The party workers in Odisha will now work under Harichandan, the former chief whip of the Congress in the last Odisha Assembly, after the AICC president Sonia Gandhi gave him a nod appointing him as the OPCC president.

The leadership change was likely today after Congress leader and party's deputy in-charge in Odisha Subhankar Sarkar hinted at new leadership under which the party will move forward in the state. Talking to a local news channel, he said that the party leadership is looking at youth to revive the fortune of the party in the state as well as in the country.

Four names were doing the rounds in media to be the successor of Jaydev Jena, including Harichandan, former MP from Nabarangpur Pradeep Majhi, MLA and party state treasurer Chiranjib Biswal and former minister and OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik. However, the final decision went in favour of Harichandan.

Earlier, Jaydev Jena had rubbished the reports of the meeting between the state Congress leaders and the party's high command in New Delhi. Thirteen leaders from the state unit,
including seven MLAs, had met AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi on Friday seeking leadership change in the state. Jena, however, denied the report saying no groupism or lobbying could work in the party and the final decision will be taken by the party cheif Sonia Gandhi.

Earlier in the week, senior congress leaders had attended a meeting called "Bandhu Milan" convened by former chief minister Hemananda Biswal to raise voice against Jena. It can be noted the the return of Janaki Ballav Patnaik to Odisha after completing his tenure as the Governor of Assam gave much courage to the leaders to think about the future of the political party in the state.

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