Ever since Jayadev Jena has taken over as the President of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC), the rift within the party has become wide open. The faction, which supports Niranjan Patnaik, has waged an all-out war against the Jena group, making a mockery of the party, which is seeking revival to end Naveen Patnaik’s 13-year-long rule.
While Jayadev Jena is strongly backed by stalwarts like Srikant Jena, Bhakta Charan Das, Prasad Harichandan and Pradeep Majhi, Niiranjan Patnaik’s group include Lulu Mohapatra and Narsingh Mishra. Even BK Hariprasad’s visit failed to cut the ice between both groups. With both Assembly and Lok Sabha polls due in 2014, the power tussle within the Congress, has given an advantage to Naveen Patnaik’s BJD.
Even as Jayadev Jena tries his best to establish his control over the faction-ridden Congress Party, Niranjan Patnaik’s repeated press meets have clearly proved that two parallel power centres work in the Odisha Congress, which may prove detrimental to the party’s prospects in future. The Patnaik group is not willing to accept Jena as their leader despite the diktats issued by the High Command.
The BJD is amused at the developments within the Congress Party in Odisha, which tries to put up a volt face, but knows the ground reality. The Congress leaders are out in the middle to outwit and malign each other. The recent incident, involving Nabarangpur MP Pradeep Majhi’s “morphed picture” is seen as an attempt to suppress some leaders, who are vocal on various issues and determined to bring massive reforms in the party.
It seems that the central leadership has turned a blind eye towards the massive infighting and power tussle within the Odisha Congress that have reached a new high in the recent days. Unless there is a sincere effort to bring both groups on board and rein in some of the leaders, the day won’t be too far when we see Odisha Congress splitting into two groups and sliding further in Odisha’s political landscape.