Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Aug 23:
A day after meeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi, senior Congress leader of Odisha Sarat Rout today met AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi and reiterated his demand for expulsion of former PCC president Niranjan Patnaik from the party for causing his defeat in the Sukinda assembly constituency.
“I urged Rahulji to expel Niranjan Patnaik for hatching a conspiracy against me to ensure my defeat in my constituency. He has always worked against me in the last four elections. He has intimate relations with Prafulla Ghadai, who is the leader of the area,” Rout told media persons in New Delhi.
However, there were very few takers among state Congress leaders for his charge against Patnaik and the demand for his expulsion.
“Congress party is no one’s paternal property that anyone can expel anyone from the party. The people, who have lost elections 4-5 times should go from the party,” said Congress chief whip Taraprasad Bahinipati.
Senior party leader Anant Sethy said the attack on Patnaik is part of a move by his detractors to prevent his re-emergence as the PCC chief.
“Since many party workers want to bring back Niranan Patnaik to the top post of state Congress, they may be planning to oust him from the party. The grounds cited by him (Rout) are not tenable. Everyone knows who were responsible for the defeat of the party in last elections. When Niranjan Babu was at the helm of power, the party leaders were enthusiastic and hoped to come back to power,” said Sethy.
Congress leader Chiranjeev Biswal advised the leaders to abide by the principles of the party. “Everyone should remain within the Laxman Rekha of the party. Otherwise, they will have to face action and the disciplinary committee would take action against those violators,” said Biswal.