Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar/ New Delhi, Jul 21:
The delegation of 12 Congress MLAs from Odisha that went to New Delhi yesterday met AICC President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi separately today. While the delegation officially insists that it was a courtesy call, senior leader of the party Lalatendu Bidyadhar (Lulu) Mohapatra spilled the beans about the visit leading to chaos and confusion in the rank and file of the party.
Speaking to reporters about the purpose of the visit, the former Brahmagiri MLA today revealed that the delegation was in Delhi to complain about the functioning of Opposition Chief Whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati.
“The MLAs must have thought something. I am not able to predict that, but I can tell you what they discussed. Today they met the High-Command and complained about the functioning of Tara Bahinipati. I don’t know about the possible outcome of the meeting though,” said Mohapatra.
Reacting to the developments, Bahinipati termed it as “an attempt to break the zeal and enthusiasm of the Congress workers”.
“I have nothing to say about who went to Delhi and who didn’t. I don’t have mining money like others and that’s why I don’t visit Delhi often. I didn’t even know about the meeting. Nobody told me about it before I got to know about it from the media. I have absolute trust on the Gandhi family and that trust will remain unshaken,” he said.
An important member of the delegation and Jharsuguda MLA Naba Kishore Das, however, remained evasive and continued to reiterate the rhetoric of ‘courtesy call’ while admitting that PCC President Prasad Harichandan was not briefed about the visit.
“This was a courtesy call. We went to thank Rahul Gandhi for the pro-farmer agenda he has undertaken. We also discussed his forthcoming Odisha tour and plans to revive the party in the state. We are not here to complain against anyone and didn’t try to remove anyone from any post. These are all speculations. The people already know the truth and I don’t want to comment on it,” said Das.
“The MLAs came from different places. It was not organized; hence we didn’t get the time to discuss about this meeting with the PCC President or the LoP. We would, however, take this up with them once we go back,” he added.
It may be noted that a 12-member delegation of MLAs, led by Jagatsinghpur MLA Chiranjib Biswal, assembled in Delhi yesterday without the knowledge of PCC President Prasad Harichandan or LoP Narasingha Mishra leading to speculation of a rift in the party.
The other members of the delegation were Talsara MLA Prafulla Majhi, Rajnagar MLA Anshuman Mohanty, Jharsuguda MLA Naba Kishore Das, Sundargarh MLA Jogesh Kumar Singh, Salipur MLA Prakash Chandra Behera, Koraput MLA Krushna Chandra Sagaria, Laxmipur MLA Kailash Chandra Kulesika, G. Udaygiri MLA Jacob Pradhan, Aul MLA Devendra Sharma, Paralakhemundi MLA Kengam Surya Rao and Bijepur MLA Subal Sahu.
While the six-month old President Harichandan remained unavailable for comments, LoP Mishra claimed he had no knowledge of the scheduled meeting and publicly stated that he was not consulted.