Odisha Sun Times Political Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 25:
Ama Odisha Party (AOP) President Soumya Ranjan Patnaik today poured cold water on the clamour for his return to the Congress fold dismissing any such possibility outright.
“I have no plans of joining the Congress. I would much rather work towards strengthening the party that I have formed with great care,” Patnaik told Kanak TV’s Sisir Bhattamishra in an exclusive, hour-long interview aired on Thursday evening.
“Electoral success is not the only kind of success in politics. I will continue to fight for the rights of people till my last breath no matter what comes my way. Who knows? Tomorrow, we may even be electorally successful,” the ‘Sambad’ Edtor said.
Asked about the statement of Congress veteran JB Patnaik, which started the whole talk of his return to the party in the first place, the AOP President said, revealingly; “I will never make him speak for me; neither do I want to be held responsible for his statements.”
“Though I am related to him by family, my political decisions are my own. It is one of the biggest regrets of my life that people have always misunderstand me because of my family relations with him,” he said.
The three-time Chief Minister, it may be noted, had sparked off speculation about Soumya Ranjan’s return to the Congress with his statement that ‘capable’ and ‘intelligent’ people, who had been shown the door by the Congress, should be brought back to revive the party in the state.
But with Soumya Ranjan himself emphatically ruling out any such possibbility, all speculation about his return to the Congress shoould now be firmly laid to rest, leaving those who clamoured for his return looking a little silly.
At least two senior leaders – Ananta Sethi and Suresh Routray – had publicly batted for Soumya Ranjan’s return to the Congress.
Newly appointed PCC President Prasad Harichandan, on his return from the Delhi sojoun today, indicated that he was quite open to the idea of those who had left the party returning to the fold, though he took care not to name Soumya Ranjan.
But he did add two caveats; the concerned leader must be willing to return in the first place and any such decision is subject to the high command’s approval. Soumya Ranjan’s return looks highly unlikely on both these counts.