Bhubaneswar, Aug 13 (PTI) A three-member AICC team met different sections of the party here including the MLAs as part of an exercise to assess the present scenario and take necessary steps to rejuvenate the sagging organisation in the state, party sources said.

Before their meeting with the AICC observers, Congress MLAs held discussions at the residence of Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra to chalk out their strategy, they said The legislators suggested to the central team that Niranjan Patnaik be made the Odisha PCC president in place of incumbent Prasad Harichandan, said a senior leader.

“We met the AICC observers together and jointly put forward our views. We stressed the need to make Niranjan Patnaik the PCC president in order to strengthen the party in the state,” said party chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati.

Senior leader and MLA Chiranjeev Biswal said the MLAs met the central observers together and discussed issues relating to organisational matters and the need to strengthen the party in the state.

Another senior legislator N K Das said the AICC team was told that immediate steps must be taken to strengthen the party at the grassroots level.

Party MP Ranjib Biswal said the need to improve coordination among party leaders was emphasised during the meeting and the observers were conveyed the views of state leaders. If they feel there is a need for change of leadership in the state, they will take necessary steps in this regard, he said.

The AICC observers – Gaurav Gogoi and Tamrdhwaj Sahu and Jitendra Singh – also held discussion with former chief minister Hemananda Biswal, former PCC presidents including Jayadev Jena, Niranjan Patnaik and Sarat Patnaik and others.

“I have given a number of suggestions. At least 10 meetings in 10 zones in a month is must and that can play a major role in strengthening the party,” Biswal said.

Niranjan Patnaik said said the focus should be to keep the party united and strengthen the organisation to face the 2019 elections.

The AICC observers had yesterday met District Congress Committee leaders and heads of several frontal units and discussed party affairs.

Infighting in state Congress had come to the fore towards the end of last year with a section of leaders including MLAs openly seeking a change of leadership in the OPCC.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.