Himansu Shekhar Rout

A huge controversy erupted after veteran Congress leader and Jatani MLA whose son Manmath Routray has been made the Bhubaneswar LS candidate by the BJD, allegedly campaigned briefly for the ruling party. A purported video of this incident went viral on social media on Tuesday.

As per reports, the Jatani MLA attended a cricket match in Bhubaneswar North Assembly constituency, where BJD MLA Sushant Rout was present. 

In the video, the Congress leader can be seen praising the BJD MLA and speaking about Sushant’s achievements in the last five years.

The Congress leader even went to the extent of asserting, "Panidan asked me and I said Sushant is the best and he will win the poll battle this time.”

"My son told me that Pandian and Naveen Babu have offered him the MP ticket. I thought a little and told him to move ahead.  I told him Lord Jagannath has given him a good opportunity,” Routray can be heard saying. 

However, the Congress leader later denied the allegations about canvassing for the BJD as shown in the video. 

“I did not attend a party meeting, but a cricket match. MLA Sushant Rout told people to vote for Sura Bhai’s son. There, I told people to vote for Sushant and it’s a cricket match,” he said. He denied having canvassed for votes for the ruling party.

He also observed, "If you pull me up on such issues, it will be a grave injustice.”

Odisha Congress chief, Sarat Pattanayak said, “Family matter is a different thing. As a Congress leader, he should not be doing such things. If someone stays in Congress and goes out to strengthen the vote bank of some other party and breaks party discipline, action will be taken no matter whoever he may be.”