Bhubaneswar: Veteran Congress leaders Niranjan Patnaik and Jayadev Jena who are known for their bitter rivalry, today met secretly in the city. The closed door meeting that lasted for over three hours was convened by former Union minister Bhakta Das. It can be expected that the secret meeting of the three senior members could bring a new turn in the debate of leadership in the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC)
The three leaders met at the Netaji Subhas Enclave in Gadakana in the city at Bhakta’s relative’s house where Bhakta and Jayadev first had a discussion for over an hour and later Niranjan joined in and the trio’s meeting went on till 12.30 pm.
Already rumours are rife regarding party members’ demand to replace Prasad Harichandan as PCC President in which Niranjan is speculated to be playing a major role. But the coming together of Niranjan and Jayadev, who have always been at logger heads in the context of Keonjhar politics, could lead to change in equilibrium in the party.
It is noteworthy that Niranjan was in Delhi but not a part of the delegation of party members led by leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra that met AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi and also Ahmed Patel and Vincent George regarding replacement of Prasad as PCC President. It was believed that since Rahul declined to replace Prasad, Narasingha had resigned as leader of Opposition whereas the veteran leader later rubbished the rumour of resignation. Later, Rahul and Narasingha had a private discussion. The Congress MLA delegation has returned from Delhi while talks of Prasad’s summon to Delhi is making rounds.
Meanwhile, the secret meeting initiated by Niranjan with former PCC Chief Jayadev, who has always supported Prasad, comes as a surprise while Bhakta’s intervention in bringing them together is definite to usher in a new turn in the party.
As per sources, on Wednesday morning, Bhakta and Jayadev had a conversation in the parking space of the Netaji Enclave and named Rahul many times. Later, when Niranjan arrived the trio went inside for the meeting.
Niranjan and Jayadev’s rivalry in Congress is well-known and earlier Jayadev had taken over as PCC President dethroning Niranjan and he had even suspended Niranjan’s brother Soumya Ranjan Patnaik during the last elections. Playing tit-for -tat Niranjan crusaded strongly and ensured Jayadev’s removal from President post which Prasad ascended. Jayadev had supported Prasad to check Niranjan’s moves to get the post back. But this secret meeting could be the turning point for Congress.