Rahul Gandhi in Odisha to rejuvenate Congress ahead of next poll

Rahul Gandhi

In a bid to rejuvenate the party in Odisha ahead of the next general election, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi today embarked on a two-day visit to the state holding brain-storming sessions with partymen.

In his first visit to the state after being elevated as AICC's second in command, Gandhi's visit is seen as an exercise aimed at gearing up the organisation for the polls as Congress has been out of power in Odisha since 2000.

The Gandhi scion, who was accorded a warm welcome on his arrival here by AICC's Odisha in-charge Jagdhsh Tytler and Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) President Niranjan Patnaik, interacted with party office-bearers and MLAs from 17 organisational districts.

While the deliberations were not open to media amid a tight security net thrown around the venue, a senior Congress leader said, "Party workers are enthusiastic about meeting Rahulji and sharing their views with him."

Another senior leader said Gandhi's message was clear as he wants the partymen to gear up for the general elections and bolster the poll prospects of Congress.

"The focus is to strengthen party organisation at grassroot level so that Congress can take on the ruling BJD effectively," he said The Amethi MP, who is slated to visit Cuttack tomorrow, met district and block level office-bearers of the party and its women, youth and student wings from western and southern regions of Odisha in different batches, he said. Gandhi is also scheduled to interact with panchayat and block representatives owing allegiance to Congress, which appears to be placing considerable emphasis on improving its show in Odisha.

Rahul's programme in Sambalpur is significant as it is likely to boost the morale of party workers in its traditional stronghold further.

Five of the six sitting Lok Sabha MPs of Congress are from these 17 organisational districts with whose leaders Gandhi interacted on the first leg of his Odisha visit.

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