Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 20:
It was a mixed bag today for the state Congress on Thursday. Even as it welcomed top notch cine star Aparajita into the party hold, the main opposition party in the state had to contend with the resignation of a long-time district level leader.
In a major setback for the party, Nayagarh District Congress president Kumar Hemendra Singh resigned from the party today.
Accompanied by BJD MP from Puri Pinkai Mishra, the scion of the Nayagarh royal family met chief minister and BJD boss Naveen Patnaik at Naveen Nivas shortly before resigning from the Congress, fueling speculation that he could join the ruling party.
Singh, however, told reporters that it was a ‘courtesy call’. “Since I am a free man now and since I continue to be in politics, I find nothing wrong in exploring all possibilities,” he said.
Asked what led him to resign from the Congress, Singh said he felt terribly hurt and humiliated at the treatment meted out to him by SPG personnel during Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s recent visit to the state despite having the necessary pass.
“Am I a ‘naukar’ or what?” the descendant of the erstwhile Nayagarh royal family asked, referring to the way he was ignored during Rahul’s visit.
“I had worked hard for the Congress in the district and now I feel humiliated,” he said. On being asked whether he had made his grievance known the party leadership in the state, he said he had written to the PCC president but was yet to get a reply.
PCC chief Jayadev Jena, however, told reporters that he was yet to receive Singh’s resignation. It may be recalled here that Singh had contested as an independent candidate from Nayagarh assembly constituency polling around 42,000 votes after being denied a Congress ticket in the 2009 election.
BJD MP Pinaki Mishra took the opportunity to have a dig at the party that he was a member of till just before the last elections. “Anybody with even an iota of self respect will fill suffocated in the Congress, a party that excels in ignoring and humiliating its workers . That precisely was the reason I had to quit the party,” he said.