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Rahul hints at party revamp

Rahul Gandhi today stressed on the importance of "collective leadership" and "unity of purpose" when he met Congress leaders from Odisha, hinting at revamp of the state unit soon.

By Sanjay K. Jha
  • Published 6.09.17
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New Delhi, Sept. 5: Rahul Gandhi today stressed on the importance of "collective leadership" and "unity of purpose" when he met Congress leaders from Odisha, hinting at revamp of the state unit soon.

Rahul's overriding concern appeared to be disunity and factionalism in the state unit, and he repeatedly argued that the Congress had the potential to wrest power in Odisha if a collective effort was made. He also spoke against the tendency to plant negative stories in the media, asking senior leaders to approach him with their grievances instead of creating a public perception of disunity in the party.

Sources said Rahul extracted a commitment from all the senior leaders to work together and accept the changes he would make in the organisation without personal grudges. Though he did not elaborate on his restructuring plan, leaders believe that he was inclined to expand the leadership structure by appointing working presidents and zonal in-charge.

There is a possibility of three working presidents being appointed to assist the OPCC chief. The idea is to keep exclusive focus on party organisation in coastal, southern and western parts of the state. By giving specific assignments to the working presidents, Rahul wants to strengthen the organisation in the entire state. A separate task force will be assigned the job to strengthen communication and publicity.

Though some leaders hoped the state would have a new PCC president, there was no clarity on this possibility so far. One leader said: "Rahul only asked us to accept his decision without resorting to factional fights. He said you explained everything to me and now let me decide how to go about it. He said the need was unity of purpose by getting above personal considerations. The priority should be to ensure that the Congress gets back its glory in Odisha."

After the joint meeting, Rahul met former PCC chief Niranjan Patnaik separately, followed by one-on-one meetings with senior leaders Bhakta Charan Das, Chiranjeev Biswal, Naba Kishore Das and Pradip Majhi. These leaders are in consideration for different jobs. After the meeting, Patnaik told the reporters: "Rahul gave several suggestions to party leaders at today's meeting. He said that under no circumstances indiscipline would be tolerated. A new chapter is going to open in the Congress from today."

AICC secretary Subhankar Sarkar told The Telegraph: "Rahul ji said the Congress had the potential to turn the tables in Odisha, and this was the best opportunity available. We are going to fight unitedly and prove him right."