Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jul 27:
Four of the 12 Congress MLAs who had gone to New Delhi recently to meet party high command Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi today met the Leader of the Opposition in the Odisha Assembly Narasingh Mishra at his official residence here.
Though the four MLAs, including deputy leader of the Congress Legislature Party Chiranjeeb Biswal, claimed it to be a ‘courtesy call’ on the their CLP leader, political circles believe it to be some kind of patch up effort after Sonia Gandhi reportedly asked the 12 MLAs to sort out their issues with the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Prasad Harichandan during their meeting with her.
The four MLAs who met Narasingh Mishra today are Chiranjeeb Biswal, Debendranath Sharma, Jogesh Singh and Ansuman Mohanty.
After meeting the Leader of the Opposition (LoP), Chiranjeeb Biswal, Jogesh Singh and Ansuman Mohanty have said that it was a courtesy visit.
“We regularly come to meet the LoP. Since the weather is cloudy and we have not gone to our constituencies, we came to meet him. It’s a courtesy call. The Delhi visit did not come up for discussion today. There was nothing like a patch-up. We come to meet him once or twice in a week when he is in town,” said Biswal.
On being asked if the PCC president has asked them to meet him and the LoP, Biswal said: “Better ask the PCC president and the LoP in this matter. We are not authorized to speak on it.”
“The LoP is in town and I had come to visit him. We certainly discussed party matters since the Assembly session is ahead. We discussed how we can put up a strong show during the session,” said Jogesh Singh speaking to reporters.
“It was a courtesy visit. Let me tell you there was no pre planning; nothing of that sort. Since he is in town and we have all come back from our constituencies, we had gone to meet him,” said Ansuman Mohanty.
On being pestered by reporters if there was any rift within their party Mohanty replied in the negative and said : “I have told you earlier and reiterate again that there is no rift in the party.”
Narasingh Mishra too maintained that the MLAs were on courtesy visit and no specific issue was discussed.
“Whenever they are in town, they visit me. They had not come to discuss any issue in particular. You have all seen them coming to me on several occasions. No internal matter of a political party is discussed with the media. Everyone has a right to go anywhere he or she likes to. They could have gone for some work, or for sightseeing or for that matter anything. I have no idea why they had gone, under what circumstances they had gone. I have made no efforts to ascertain the purpose of their visit and there is no need to do that either,” said Mishra on his meeting with the MLAs.
According to Congress sources, the 12 MLAs are scheduled to hold a meeting with PCC president Harichandan in the presence of AICC Odisha in-charge B K Hariprasad here on July 30.
LoP Mishra has also called a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party at his residence the same day.
Twelve of the sixteen congress MLAs in the Odisha Assembly had paid a visit to Delhi on July 20 without the knowledge of PCC President Prasad Harichandan, LoP Narasingha Mishra or Chief Whip in Assembly Tara Prasad Bahinipati, leading to speculation of a rift in the trouble-torn party again.