New Delhi, Apr 4 (PTI) Faced with the tough task of strengthening the Congress’s Odisha unit ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, its new state in-charge Jitendra Singh today claimed the party will form the next government there.

Singh, who was appointed the in-charge of the Congress’s affairs in Odisha last week, said there was a big talent pool available for the party in the state.

He stressed on giving opportunities to deserving functionaries as part of efforts to strengthen the party organisation at the booth level.

The former Union minister also hit out at the BJP, the third major player in the contest besides the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), for allegedly dividing people on communal lines, and said the NDA major would not succeed in Odisha.

There is a big scope (for Congress’s revival) We stand a good chance of making a comeback to power and putting on an impressive show in the Lok Sabha polls, Singh said.

He said there was a lot of talent at the Congress’s disposal at the grassroots level and that there was a need to give opportunities to local leaders and workers.

Singh said he would hold discussions with local leaders before working out a strategy to strengthen the party in the state.

About the BJP’s efforts to expand its base in Odisha, especially after the panchayat polls last year, the Congress leader said the ruling party at the Centre “can only put up big posters , which cannot assure votes.

The people in the state have a liking for the Congress because of the development activities its governments carried out there. They love the Gandhi family and vote for the Congress. The BJP, which made false promises, stands exposed, he added.

The Congress has been out of power in Odisha for 18 years.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the party drew a blank in the 21 seats there. Of these, the BJD won 20 and one went to the BJP.

In the 2014 assembly elections, the Congress could bag a paltry 16 seats in the 147-member House.

The general and assembly polls will be held simultaneously next year.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.