Bhubaneswar, Apr 9 (PTI) Calling the leaders who recently quit the Congress as “opportunists”, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Prasad Harichandan today said even such an exodus cannot undermine the party before the 2019 elections.

Those who have quit Congress and joined other parties have done so for their personal gains. Exit of these greedy and opportunist people will have no impact on the party,” Harichandan said.

Senior leader and former Union minster Chandrasekhar Sahu along with three other senior leaders resigned from the Congress to join the ruling BJD recently.

The PCC Chief was speaking to reporters during a day-long fast observed by Congress workers against caste violence, communalism and non-functioning of Parliament, for which the party blamed the ruling BJP at the Centre.

Harichandan said the people of Odisha are wise enough to understand the real motives of such opportunist leaders and Congress would definitely give a befitting reply to them during the lok sabha and state Assembly elections due next year.

“Congress will be further strengthened and rejuvenated in Odisha ahead of the next polls. The party will undergo a ‘Nabakalebara (reincarnation) to bolster its electoral prospects,” he said, adding that the people have faith and confidence in Congress.

The PCC chief maintained that the party has always emerged stronger after every temoprary setback in the past and this time too it would be no different.

Another senior leader and former OPCC president, Niranjan Patnaik also asserted that Congress would be in a strong position for the elections due next year.

Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Srikant Jena said the party stands united in the state and it would give a befitting reply to deserters.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.