Rahul focus on Odisha amid party unit feud
Congress president Rahul Gandhi will visit Odisha once every month for the next three months, the state unit of the party said on Wednesday.
Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee chief Niranjan Patnaik said “everyone is excited” over Rahul’s upcoming visit to the state on January 25. “Rahulji’s meeting will be a grand success; people from all nooks and corners of the state are expected to attend,” he said.
The All India Congress Committee’s Odisha in-charge Jitendra Singh said: “The ensuing tour of Rahulji to the state is the first one in the present itinerary, but he is scheduled to visit the state each month for the next three months.”
Ahead of Rahul’s visit, expelled leader Srikant Jena steeped up his attack on Niranjan Patnaik and Singh.
“Rahul should explain if the Congress government comes to power, whether it will take action against all the mining mafias and confiscate their properties. Rahul should also make his stand clear whether he supports Niranjan, against whom the high court had made adverse remarks.”
Jena (68) has been targeting Niranjan for a while now. After Niranjan became the Odisha Congress chief, he had demanded that the party should project leaders from the OBC, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as the chief ministerial and deputy chief ministerial candidates. Patnaik belongs to the upper caste Kayastha community. Jena has alleged that the state's mineral resources have been looted by a few families. Incidentally, Niranjan’s family members are involved with mining.
Jena said: “Since his appointment, I have been raising the issue Congress should not rub shoulders with Niranjan as he does not have a clean image. I had raised the issues in the party forum and not before the media. So, I have not breached any discipline code.”
The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) brushed off Rahul’s focus on the state. “National leaders visiting the state will have no impact on state politics,” said BJD general secretary Bijay Nayak.