Harichandan to remain Odisha Congress chief till 2019 poll

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BHUBANESWAR: Congress president Rahul Gandhi has rejected the resignation of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Prasad Harichandan and he will remain in the post till the next general election, party sources said on Saturday.

Harichandan had resigned from the post on February 28 owning moral responsibility for his party’s miserable show in the Bijepur by-election. Congress, which had won the seat the last time, had lost its deposit in the poll.

Mr. Harichandan, appointed OPCC chief in December 2014, has been facing opposition from within the party since last year’s panchayat elections where the Congress was pushed to third position after BJP emerged as number two in State politics.

Need for continuity

“The AICC did not accept the resignation of Harichandan as Odisha Congress president. Rahul Gandhi wants him to continue as the OPCC president,” OPCC disciplinary committee chairperson Sandhya Mohapatra told a press conference here on Saturday.

Mr. Gandhi felt that as the general election is most likely to be held in the next eight to nine months, it will not be possible for a new PCC president to deal with the election situation within the short period. He therefore decided to retain Mr. Harichandan, Mr. Mohapatra said.

While Biju Janata Dal candidate Rita Sahu bagged 1,02,871 votes and BJP candidate Ashok Panigrahi bagged 60,938 votes, the Congress had finished a distant third with party candidate Pranaya Sahu bagging a paltry 10,274 votes in the by-election.

The humiliation came on a seat the party had won in 2004, 2009 and 2014.

Source: Press Trust of India