ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago:Coalition Move in Orissa.

Weekly Note from Volume XI, No 19, May 9, 1959.

The arguments advanced by Dr Harekrushna Mahtab, Chief Minister of Orissa, in support of his move for a coalition of the Congress Party and the Ganatantra Parishad reflect little credit on the state of the Congress in that State. Addressing the Executive Com-mittee of the Utkal Pradesh Congress on May 5, he frankly stated, “If the Party goes on as it is, there is no doubt that it is likely to be entirely crushed at the next general election”. Whether by going in for a mar-riage of convenience with the Ganatantra Parishad, which it has fought bitterly in the past, there can be any improvement in Congress prospects, is a question that baffles not only outsiders, but quite a few Congressmen in Orissa itself. Dr Mahtab on his part, however, seems to have persuaded himself into the belief that by seeking an alliance with the Ganatantra Parishad, the Congress would not only strengthen itself, but also be in a position to extend its influence to all parts of Orissa. That the Ganatantra Parishad on its part might be hugging a similar hope for itself and that indeed it might be in a better position to ex-ploit its alliance with the ruling party for ad-vancing its interests, does not seem to bother Dr Mahtab though it does disturb some of his own followers.

The Orissa Chief Minister sounded almost naive when, referring to members of the Ganatantra Parishad, he said, “Those who offer to work out the policy and programme of the Congress should be considered recruits and efforts should be made to make them full-fledged Congressmen.” What ground he has for thinking that the Parishad men would be ready to shed their separate identity and merge themselves in the Congress is not known. Indeed, present circumstances seem to point to the contrary.

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