Bhubaneswar,30/10: The demand for change in the state Congress has been back again. A section of party dissidents today decided to raise the demand before the party high command.
A section of the party dissidents met at a government-run hotel in the city and decided to seek appointment of Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and demand change in the PCC leadership.
Reliable sources said the dissidents today decided to project Cuttack Barabati MLA Mohammed Moquim as the alternative to the present Pradesh Congress Committee president Niranjan Patnaik.
The demand for the leadership change in the state Congress has been back after the miserable performance of the party in the just-concluded by-election at Bijepur. The party, which had won the seat for consecutive three terms till the death of its sitting MLA Subal Sahu, has been relegated to third position during the last three elections that had been held during the last three years. It not only finished a poor third, its vote had made a nose dive from 14,314 in the 2019 general election to 5873 in the recent by poll.
A few months back, the Congress in the state had suffered a serious drubbing in the April general elections with the party winning a single seat in Lok Sabha and its strength sliding down from 16 to 9 in the 147-member state assembly. PCC president Niranjan Patnaik had tendered his resignation, owning up moral responsibility for the party’s failure in poll. However, he was asked by the party high command to continue.
But the fresh demand for the leadership change has baffled the party leaders. Senior Congress MLA from Jeypore Tara Prasad Bahinipati said the demand for leadership change was not proper at this juncture when the urban poll was due at any time. “Niranjan Patnaik can carry all factions together and lead the party during the coming civic election. He should be allowed to continue at the party’s interest”, he said.