Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 23:
Odisha unit of Congress was proved a divided house once again as two of its senior most leaders — Srikant Jena and Narasingha Mishra — had a heated exchange of words today over several SC/ST MLAs of the party prostrating before Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik during the previous Assembly session in May.
According to a source in the party, while former Union Minister Srikant Jena pulled up the Leader of Opposition (LoP) Narasingha Mishra over the issue during the executive body meeting of the party today and wanted to know if the action had approval from the party, the LoP defended the action of the MLAs.
Mishra said that the decision had been taken by the Congress legislature party and the decision can be debated at proper forums in the party. The answer, apparently, did not satisfy Jena and both the leaders continued sparring until the very end of the meeting.
Both leaders, however, refused to speak to reporters on the incident.
Meanwhile, other leaders joined the fray.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, AICC Secretary Bhakta Charan Das said, “Politeness can also be a form of protest. One can protest by taping his mouth and eyes. If the decision was taken from this perspective, I do not have anything to say. What matters is how the people saw the incident”.
The meeting, in the meanwhile, deliberated on several issues concerning state politics and a roadmap was prepared for upcoming panchayat polls.
According to party Chief Prasad Harichandan, a decision was taken to form booth committees with 10 members each at booth level to strengthen the party at grass root level. Besides, senior leaders were tasked with preparation for panchayat polls.
The party took a decision to highlight Mahanadi issue prominently and take out rallies at places where the river flows. Further, the party agreed to highlight law and order situation, NFSA irregularity , Nagada issue and farmers’ issues in the run up to panchayat polls next year.