Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Mar 2:
It is fast assuming the proportions of a virtual exodus. Leaders who have spent years in the Congress – some of them an entire lifetime – are leaping out of the party faster than rats would jump out of a sinking ship. Then there are others who have not quit yet, but have decided to raise the banner of revolt.
As if the resignations of Umesh Swain, Hemendra Singh, the husband-wife duo of Ramakrushna Patnaik and Kumundidni Patnaik, Sibasankar Ulaka and the ‘rumoured’ resignation of Leader of Opposition Bhupider Singh were not enough, the Congress now has to grapple with a virtual revolt by another loyal party man Arya Kumar Jnanedra.
The long time spokesperson announced on Sunday that he would stay away from all party activities for a year in protest against the way it is being in Odisha.
Though Jnanedra has not resigned from the party – at least not yet – he has certainly put the PCC leadership on notice with his announcement.
“The mining and builder mafia are calling the shots in the Congress these days,” said Jnanedra in what is being seen as the strongest attack yet on the PCC leadership.
“I am not at all happy at the way the process of giving tickets is being handled in the state.While there are many deserving leaders in the party, the leadership has decided to field rank outsiders in the ensuing polls,” said a peeved Jnanedra.
The senior Congress leader informed that he had already written a letter to party top bosses Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in this regard.
In the circumstances, the denial by a few Congress MLAs, who were believed to be in touch with the BJD leadership, about switching camps in return for the promise of ruling party tickets from their constituencies, will be small comfort for the Jena brothers, who are calling all the shots in the party now.
The PCC president is yet to react to Jnanedra’s revolt.