Buoyed by the return of Niranjan Patnaik as president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee along with three working presidents, the party has started gearing up for the next year’s simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the State.The Congress leaders are working overtime not only to retain their party’s number two position in the State by blocking the Bharatiya Janata Party but also to take on the ruling Biju Janata Dal in a big way. The saffron party had emerged number two in the Zilla Parishad elections in 2017.The new team of leaders has already initiated a series of measures to strengthen the party organisation at the grassroots level. In a recent meeting of district presidents, the party decided to dismantle block level committees and strengthen Zilla Parishad zones as new organisational blocks.At the end of the two-day deliberations, Mr. Patnaik has made it clear that those leaders who are working with the people in rural areas will be given tickets to contest the next elections. Indiscipline will not be tolerated in the party and leaders having grievances should raise the issue in party forum instead of going to the media, he has said.Mr. Patnaik, who has already appointed presidents and working presidents in as many as 28 of the 33 organisational districts, is now planning to organise massive rallies in all districts to galvanise the party workers up to the booth level. He along with the party in-charge of Odisha has also visited all districts to activate the district units.
The Uttar Pradesh Police’s Special Task Force (STF) on Friday arrested a notorious sharpshooter, who was allegedly planning to kill BJP MLA Sushil Singh, after a brief encounter in Varanasi, an official statement said. Shiv Prakash Tiwari alias Dhoni Tiwari was carrying a cash reward of ₹1 lakh on his head, it said. Following a tip off, Tiwari and two of his associates — Manish Kesarwani and Ajnana Singh — were arrested from Varanasi’s Cantt police station area, the STF statement said. During interrogation, Tiwari revealed he had come to Varanasi with his associates to kill Singh, the BJP MLA from Saiyadraja assembly constituency. His associates were doing a recce for it, the statement said. Tiwari was convicted in the sensational murder of Hindu Yuva Vahini leader Bishnu Dutt Ojha in 2011 in Basti district but was absconding, it said.