Bhakta, Prasad in war of words again

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Bhubaneswar: The intra-party feud in the Odisha Congress came to the fore again on Tuesday following a heated argument between former Union minister and AICC spokesperson Bhakta Charan Das and Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Prasad Harichandan at the PCC state level convention here.

Reports said the war of words between the two leaders ensued after the OPCC chief invited former Narla Block chairperson Ashok Chand to deliver his speech at the PCC state level convention on completion of 10 years of MGNREGA. At this, Das, who was sitting on the dais, came to the PCC chief and asked him why he invited Chand when he was no longer a Congress member.

As the argument between these two leaders continued over the issue, AICC member and Odisha saha prabhari Subhankar Sarkar and Congress leader Ganeswar Behera, present on the dais, brought the situation under control after pacifying the two leaders. In the meanwhile, Congress leader Judhistir Das and another leader tried to prevent media persons from recording the visuals.

Amid the confusion, Chand stopped his speech.

Talking to media persons after the incident, Chand said he was a Congress member and chairperson of Narla Block. He had quit the Congress and joined the Samajwadi Party but returned to the Congress after the appointment of Gobardhan Das as the president of Kalahandi District Congress Committee.

Asked about the incident, Bhakta said he had no argument with the PCC chief. “In fact, I had sought permission to deliver my speech early so that I would be able to return to Bhawanipatna today,” he pointed out.

Harichandan too made light of the tiff between him and Bhakta Das.

“He (Bhakta) has not showed any anger towards me. In fact, we had requested our members and leaders to keep their speech brief. If anyone has any personal opinion or comment about anybody, please ask them,” the PCC chief told the media.

Prior to this incident, Bhakta had a face-off with the PCC chief over the appointment of former MLA Gobardhan Das as DCC president of Kalahandi.

Alleging that the Congress had taken the decision under the directive of the state government, he had said this move will weaken the party organisation in Kalahandi.

Das later patched up with the PCC chief and clarified to the media that there was a communication gap between them. “I regret that the altercation led to a bad perception about the party,” he had said.

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