Bhubaneswar: Dissidents in Odisha Congress raise their heads and demanded the removal of the present president Niranjan Patnaik. They, at the same time, pitched for party’s Cuttack-Barabati MLA Mohammed Moquim for the top post in the party.

The dissidents under the leadership of Paradip Congress leader Bapi Sarkhel and Ashok Samal had a meeting at Panthnivas, here on Wednesday.

Interestingly, the dissidents came out with a press statement saying that Odisha Congress needs a leader who is dynamic, conventional and has an uncompromising mentality. “Given the fact that the party has become directionless under the leadership of present OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik, there is little doubt that Patnaik can take the responsibility ahead,” the release said adding ,”Mohammed Moquim is now perfect for the role.”

“Complaining about being neglected and some leaders getting undue favours, many senior leaders of Congress switched to other parties. This did not go well with people who tagged it a ‘sign-board party’. This has posed a major challenge for us now. As a team, we need to fight BJD and BJP and highlight their irregularities and failures at the grassroots.”

The dissidents were seemingly frustrated over the party’s disastrous performances in the recent elections. The Congress under the leadership of Niranjan Patnaik slipped to third position in the State assembly leaving the space to BJP. Similarly, the party faced a humiliating defeat in the recently held by-elections in Patkura and Bijepur assembly constituencies.

The dissidents are planning to meet Congress high command Sonia Gandhi soon with their demand to replace Niranjan Patnaik with Mohammed Moquim.