Urging the party’s rank and file to remain united if they sincerely wanted to defeat Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in the ensuing elections in Odisha, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Monday said only the party was to be blamed for its failure in the state. “It is not that Congress is being defeated by the BJD, but Congress itself is responsible for its failure. The party is losing the elections due to lack of unity in its rank and file,” Rahul Gandhi told party workers at the PCC members’meeting held here.
Before winding up his two-day Odisha tour, Gandhi gave the “winning mantra” to his party workers. “Rahulji said unity is the strength of Congress. Until the party has fractions, it cannot win elections,” said a senior leader who attended the meeting held at the Children’s Park here. “Rahulji has told us to maintain discipline in the party and that stringent action will be taken against anyone, however big the leader may be, if he is found to be indisciplined,” said former minister Suresh Kumar Routray.
The Congress vice-president also categorically said there would be no change of guard in the OPCC before the ensuing elections, Routray said, adding all were told to work hard. Rajya Sabha MP Rama Chandra Khuntia said the Congress vice-president told the party’s block and district-level leaders to highlight the welfare schemes of the UPA government and “ensure that Congress’ message reaches every house in the state.”
Earlier, while seeking a complete change in the political system, Rahul Gandhi at a separate interaction with students and youths, urged them to join politics to break the “monopoly” of senior leaders. Stating that the political system in the country was monopolised by senior leaders, Gandhi said, “You need to come and join politics to change the society. The top leadership may not be interested in change in the present education system, but you need to. You have to participate in the political system.”
Rahul also visited the boat tragedy site in Odisha’s Sambalpur district and met the family members of the victims. In his lone public meeting at Salepur in Cuttack district on Sunday, Gandhi had accused the BJD government in Odisha of corruption, loot of minerals, misappropriation of central funds and siding with mining mafia.
Former Apple executive and Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri has also been included in the spokespersons’ list.