Odisha Cong legislators meet Sonia, Rahul

Bhubaneswar: A dozen Congress legislators from Odisha today met party president Sonia Gandhi and Vice-President Rahul Gandhi at New Delhi without formally informing the state leadership about the purpose of their move.

“I have no idea about the purpose of their visit to Delhi,” said Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) President Prasad Harichandan.

Though senior party leader Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra claimed there were indications about the MLAs having made some complaint against Tara Prasad Bahinipati, Congress Chief Whip in Odisha Assembly, senior leader and former OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik rubbished it.

“There is no reason to believe the claim made by him (Mohapatra). It will be appropriate to hear from the MLAs who have gone to Delhi,” Patnaik said.

The sudden move by Congress MLAs without the knowledge of PCC chief has come as an embarrassment for the state leadership which had been struggling to make a comeback for 15 years. The party has been out of power in Odisha since 2000 as Naveen Patnaik-led BJD continued win successive elections in the state.

“At this juncture, when Prasad had been trying his level best to give a fight to BJD, the party MLAs move has has given a wrong message to the people that Congress leaders are still unable unite,” said political observers.

Congress chief whip Bahinipati, however, said that he was not aware about the visit of 12 MLAs to Delhi. “There seems to be a conspiracy to weaken the morale of party workers in Odisha,” Bahinipati said adding that he had never lobbied to become the chief whip.

After meeting Gandhis, MLA group leader Nabakishore Das categorically stated that the legislators did not make any complaint against any leader begore the central leadership. “We have not spoken against any leader. We discussed only on the party matters with the Congress president,” he said.

OPCC President Harichandan and Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra had met the party high command in Delhi last week.