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K P Singh Deo is new Orissa Cong chief,Patnaik in CWC

Barely three months ahead of the general elections,the Congress high command on Tuesday appointed former Union minister K P Singh Deo....

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi/ Bhubaneshwar |
January 28, 2009 12:00:55 am

Barely three months ahead of the general elections,the Congress high command on Tuesday appointed former Union minister K P Singh Deo as the president of the party’s Orissa unit.

Three working presidents — Chandrasekhar Sahu,L B Mahapatra and Bhakta Charan Das — were also appointed to assist the 67-year-old Singh Deo,who is widely believed to be not in the best of terms with party veteran

J B Patnaik. All the three working presidents have also been critical of Patnaik of late.

Patnaik had to resign from the post of the Congress Legislature Party leader in the Orissa Assembly three days ago,under pressure from the party high command.

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However,in what is being seen as a move to pacify the four-time chief minister,Patnaik has been appointed a permanent invitee to the Congress Working Committee,the highest decision-making body of the party.

He was also appointed member of the central election manifesto committee,which finalised the draft manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections last week and submitted it to the party president.

Singh Deo replaced Jaydev Jena,who also resigned on January 24,as the Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee chief. Another senior leader,Srikant Jena,was appointed chairman of the state election campaign committee.

According to Union minister and AICC in-charge of Orissa Ajay Maken,the latest revamp in the state unit took care of both caste and regional representation. Tribal leader Ramachandra Ulaka was earlier elected CLP leader in place of Patnaik. Deo,Sahu,Das and Jena represented Rajput,Brahmin,Scheduled Castes and OBC, respectively.

According to Maken,all these newly appointed PCC office-bearers enjoyed “excellent image” and would be able to put the “tainted” BJD-BJP Government on the mat. Contrary to the public perception “out of the state” about Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s performance,said Maken,there were no roads or electricity or other amenities available to people in the state.

“I don’t know why there is such perception (about Naveen Patnaik regime). Ministers were dropped on corruption charges. There were controversies surrounding the Speaker. The CM cannot absolve himself of the blame,” Maken told The Indian Express.

He said that the Congress would contest the elections on four issues — rampant corruption,destruction of the “Jagannath culture” of Orissa that did not discriminate against any religion or caste,the state Government’s inability to spend the money allocated by the Centre for development schemes,and the achievements of the UPA Government in terms of generating employment through schemes like NREGS.

— With ENS inputs from Bhubaneswar

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