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‘Jena Brothers’ under fire from inside, outside Congress

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Reported by Chinmaya Dehury

Bhubaneswar, Mar 11:

It is fast becoming a takiya kalaam of sorts: Congress leaders, while quitting the party, accusing the state leadership of acting in their own ‘vested interest’.

The latest to join the bandwagon on Tuesday were party spokesperson Ashok Samal and state unit secretary Bharati Das.

'Jena Brothers'
‘Jena Brothers’

“Senior leaders and party workers are being consistently overlooked in the party. It is being run by a vested interest group that will ruin the party,” Samal said while announcing his decision to resign from the party on Tuesday.

This has been the refrain of every single leader who has quit the party in recent times: Bhupinder Singh. Ramakrushna Patnaik, Anup Sai, Sura Sethi, Sanatan Mahakud, Alok Nayak and Arya Kumar Gyanendra  … you name it.

It is not just leaders, who are on their way out , who are accusing the duo that has come to be known as the ‘Jena Brothers’ (campaign committee chief Srikant Jena and PCC chief Jayadev Jena) of running the party in their vested interest.

Senior leader Niranjan Patnaik, who has not betrayed any sign of quitting the party so far, has also alleged, without naming either of the two Jenas, that the party was being run by a ‘coterie’.

While it is possible to see the former PCC chief’s accusation as a case of sour grapes, no such explanation can be given in case of Arya Gyanendra. The long time party spokesperson had gone a step forward and alleged that the ‘mining and builder mafia’ was calling all the shots in the matter of ticket distribution when he was very much in the party.

Congress leaders are now alleging that party tickets for the simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections are being ‘auctioned’.

“My contribution to the party is immense. I have groomed my constituency for the last 20 years. But, the state leadership has recommended the name of a man, who is not even a Congress member, after taking money. It is a grave injustice to me and the people. It seems the party is determined to lose the election,” said a senior Congress leader who preferred not to be named.

At the rate which lifelong Congressmen are leaving the party, the ‘Jena Brothers’ could well end up with the dubious distinction of presiding over the disintegration of the Congress in the state.