Harichandan had resigned from the post on February 28 owning moral responsibility for his partys miserable show in the Bijepur by-election. Congress, which had won the seat the last time, had lost its deposit in the by-poll.
Harichandan had taken over as OPCC chief in December 2014. He has been facing opposition from within the party since last year's panchayat election where the Congress was pushed to the third position after BJP emerged as number two in the state politics.
''The AICC did not accept the resignation of Harichandan as Odisha Congress president. Rahul Gandhi wants him to continue as the OPCC president,'' OPCC disciplinary committee chairperson Sandhya Mohapatra told a press conference here today.
Gandhi felt that as the general election is most likely to be held in the next eight to nine months, it will not be possible for a new PCC president to deal with the election situation within the short period.
While BJD candidate Rita Sahu bagged 1,02,871 votes and BJP candidate Ashok Panigrahi bagged 60,938 votes. The Congress had finished a distant third with party candidate Pranaya Sahu bagging a paltry 10,274 votes in the byelection.
The Congress candidate lost his deposit though the party had won the Bijepur seat in 2004, 2009 and 2014 elections.
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