Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi/ Bhubaneswar, Nov 26:
In a new twist to the tale of rivalry in Odisha Congress, four MLAs of the party— earlier said to be in the camp led by Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra – today met AICC Vice President Rahul Gandhi fuelling speculations of feud in the Congress Legislature party (CLP).
The MLAs: Jacob Pradhan, Krushna Chandra Sagaria, Kailash Kulesika and Bhujabal Majhi today met Gandhi at his Tughlaq road residence along with AICC Odisha in-charge BK Hariprasad and PCC Treasurer Mohammad Moquim.
“Rahul Gandhi had called us to discuss panchayat polls. We discussed ways to strengthen the party in the state and ensure Congress rule in the zilla parishad and blocks,” said Pradhan speaking to reporters after meeting Gandhi.
“They discussed the local body polls with Rahul Gandhi. Besides, the atrocity on SCs and STs by BJD — especially in Kandhamal and Kalahandi was also taken up,” said Hariprasad.
Even though the stated objective of the meeting — as confirmed by Hariprasad and Pradhan — was panchayat polls, MLA Prafulla Majhi — a member of CLP camp led by Mishra– said that other MLAs had not been taken into confidence about the meeting with Gandhi.
“I still do not believe that they will leave our camp and join some other. They were with us and we hope that they will stay with us. The MLAs are trying their best in their own locality and own constituency to boost the party’s fortunes. It is unfortunate, if there is a plot to split them,” said Majhi.
He further added that all four MLAs were present in a meeting held on November 22 by LoP Mishra to discuss panchayat poll strategy.
According to another source in the PCC, who did not wish to be named, the MLAs have switched loyalty to the PCC organisation camp being led by PCC President Prasad Harichandan.
Neither PCC Chief Harichandan nor LoP Mishra was available to comment.