Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jul 30:
The intra-party squabble in the Odisha Congress is getting curiouser by the hour. Shortly after the meeting between the 12 MLAs, who met the Congress high command last week and the PCC president Prasad Harichandan began this morning, all of them were seen trooping out and heading for the residence of the Leader of Opposition (LoP) Narasingha Mishra.
When they emerged out of the closed-door meeting with the LoP after an hour or so, none of them was willing to talk about what transpired at the unscheduled meeting.
The PCC chief would inform the media about the details at a press briefing at Congress Bhawan in the evening, sources in the party said.
Party sources, however, hinted that the 12 MLAs may have met the LoP, who apparently has been hurt by their visit to Delhi without informing him, to assuage his feelings.
The unscheduled meeting between the 12 MLAs and the LoP has kept observers guessing since the LoP’s meeting with the party’s 16 MLAs scheduled for today was cancelled yesterday on the ground of the seven-day period of mourning declared after former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s death.
The cancellation raised eyebrows because the meeting of the party MLAs with the PCC chief, which should have also been cancelled by the same reckoning, was never cancelled.
Harichandan had called the 12 party MLAs presumably to find out from them what transpired at their meeting with the party high command in New Delhi.
Congress chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati had earlier told the media that he had not been called up by the PCC chief to attend the meeting.
“Why should I be called to attend the meeting when I never went to Delhi?” he had quipped.
When asked whether the 12 MLAs had reported against him to the party high command, the Jeypore MLA had said he was ready to relinquish his post if they were not happy with him.
While the exact reason of the visit of these 12 MLAs to the national capital was not yet known, sources close to party circles said they had urged the Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi to replace Bahinipati Jharsuguda MLA Naba Das as the party chief whip.
However, Das and eleven other MLAs had said they had paid a courtesy visit to their party high command prior to the commencement of the Parliament session.
It may be recalled that the 12-member delegation, led by Deputy Leader of the Congress in the Assembly and Jagatsinghpur MLA Chiranjib Biswal, had gone to New Delhi on July 20 to meet the party high command.
The other members of the delegation were Talsara MLA Prafulla Majhi, Rajnagar MLA Anshuman Mohanty, Jharsuguda MLA Naba Kishore Das, Sundargarh MLA Jogesh Kumar Singh, Salipur MLA Prakash Chandra Behera, Koraput MLA Krushna Chandra Sagaria, Laxmipur MLA Kailash Chandra Kulesika, G. Udaygiri MLA Jacob Pradhan, Aul MLA Devendra Sharma, Paralakhemundi MLA Kengam Surya Rao and Bijepur MLA Subal Sahu.