Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
The Congress Party must discipline its legislative wing in Orissa, if its central leadership has an iota of political acumen and courage of convictions.
Registered as a political party, it has no carte blanche to promote political anarchy in its state wing that forces its members and supporters into utter confusion, specifically as the time for the people of Orissa to decide whether or not to refuse a fresh mandate to the ruling BID is not very distant. People are already in the process of making up their minds.
When Mr. Prasad Harichandan was made the President of Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee, there was no better candidate for the post before the Congress High Command. To us, who loves Orissa, this was the best thing to happen.
As time progressed, it appeared that BJP was getting more uncomfortable with Prasad as Chief of the Congress in Orissa. A highly erudite, principled, polished politician, correctly decorated as the best legislator of the State before any other was considered, he is most acceptable to selfless elements in the party, still loyal to the Congress. Naturally, therefore, he is, for the BJP, a challenge.
In fact BJP was not much worried about Naveen ruling the State. Exactly as the Congress suffered the worst ever setback because of Manmohan Singh, the BJD would sure suffer the worst of electoral debacle in 2019 because of stupendous scams in every sphere with which Naveen stands synonymous, the BJP was visualizing.
It was and is sure, the resultant benefit would go to it in absence of a competent leadership in the PCC. But,with Prasad Harichandan as President of the Pradesh Congress, this comfortable feeling of BJP may evaporate.
It cannot be that the Congress Legislative wing does not know that BJP shall benefit only if the Congress is kept disorganized.
BJP bagged unexpected success in Panchayat polls, simply because the people of Orissa were massively disillusioned with BJD under the impact of Bhasha Andolan and on the other hand, the Congress which could have been the alternative was in disarray by its Legislative wing that was spewing venom against the PCC leadership.
Had exemplary disciplinary steps been taken against the unruly legislators instead of indulging in patch-up exercises, the Congress could certainly have performed spectacularly better and might have exceeded even the ruling party, exposed threadbare by Bhasha Andolan as an anti-Oriya organization; as its cadres and supporters were more acceptable to the people than that of the BJP.
If Panchayat elections gave a good result to the party of Mr. Modi, whom Orissa had refused mandate in 2014 when the whole of the country was under his sway, it was because of the damage done to the Congress image by its Legislative wing that made a farce of the Party before the people.
This scenario suits the best to the BJP even now.
People of Orissa have made up their minds against Naveen. But BJP is not their natural choice. To the people, BJP appears more farcical and meretricious than any conceivable political set-up. But, despite this, it may emerge as people’s hobson choice if the Congress doesn’t come out of its cocoon of confusion its inaction against the unruly legislators has solidified.
The baseless allegations of incompetency contrived against Prasad Harichandan need be at once rejected by the Congress high command. Personal ambitions of individuals with money must not be encouraged to play further havoc with the PCC. No party MLA should have any freedom to revolt against the PCC President and assert that the he or she is to stay loyal to the leader of the legislative wing of the party, not to the leader of the organizational wing. Strict discipline needs be imposed and every unruly MLA whoever refuses to work under the direction of the PCC leadership should be summarily dismissed from the Party.
Suppose all the Congress MLAs, who are discernibly undisciplined, get dismissed. What would happen?
Discipline shall return to party and in 2019, I shall not be surprised if it returns to power in Orissa, with people mostly having forgotten how Manmohan Singh had sabotaged the Country.