Dr Ajay Kumar Faces Daunting Task to Bring Congress on Track in Odisha

The IPS officer, on the very day of his arrival in Odisha on Saturday made his intention clear to reclaim the party's foothold in the state.

Bhubaneswar: Dr Ajay Kumar, the newly appointed All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge for Odisha who had an illustrious career in police service, is expected to use all his analytics in Odisha to bring the party on track of its former glory.

In the past three days, Dr Kumar has managed to generate a lot of enthusiasm and spirits in the party state unit through his meticulous attack on the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the major opposition force in the state.

The former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, on the very day of his arrival in Odisha on Saturday, made his intention clear to reclaim the party’s foothold in the state by targeting in no uncertain terms the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) headed by the five-time chief minister Naveen Patnaik. He said the BJD had been hijacked by non-Odias and exhorted his own party workers to save the state from their clutches.

Though Dr Kumar did not mention any names, his diatribe was construed as directed at V Karthikeyan Pandian, a retired bureaucrat-turned politician who is now running the BJD “on the instruction of the CM Naveen Patnaik,” besides some top non-Odia bureaucrats.

On Sunday, the AICC leader took on both the BJD and BJP as he accused them of entering into a tacit understanding in helping each other in Lok Sabha elections.

“The BJD and BJP have entered into an implicit alliance pledging to support each other. The BJP has been assured 15 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats from the state. Similarly, the BJD has got an assurance from the BJP that it would not stand in its way of coming to power for the sixth consecutive term,” alleged Dr Kumar.

As it is seen, Dr Kumar’s presence in the state has generated spirit and enthusiasm among the party’s rank and file. A large number of people are seen thronging Congress Bhawan, the party’s state headquarters, in Bhubaneswar.

The Congress had managed to win only 9 of the 147 assembly seats and one Lok Sabha seat in the state in 2019.

Sources said Dr Kumar will spend most of his time in Odisha till the state goes to the simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls later this year.

Shunted out of power in the state in 2000, the Congress has never been able in successive elections to put up a strong fight against the ruling BJD, largely because of intense factionalism and bickering among the party leaders. However, the present Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief Sarat Pattanayak appears to have been able to carry along all the top leaders of the party with him.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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