Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Odisha unit of Congress party seems to be in a damage control mode after senior party leader and Jeypore MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati praised Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik raising ‘Naveen Patnaik zindabaad’ slogans on the stage.

Speaking about the controversy, former Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) President, Jayadev Jena said, “We should not stoke any controversy on it. Bahinipati must have said this in a feat of excitement. There were many announcements in Jeypore made yesterday by the Chief Minister. He got carried away and said that.”

“He (Bahinipati) is a senior leader and he is still with the party wholeheartedly and will remain so,” he added.

However, Suresh Routray did not take the sloganeering positively. Expressing his displeasure, Routray said, “Such raising of slogans does not augur well for a senior leader like Tara Prasad Bahinipati.”

On the rumours of Bahinipati joining BJD, Routray said, “I cannot comment whether he will join the BJD or not. It can be answered by Sharat Patnaik or Sonia Gandhi. Either way, it does not affect us as a party. Elections are nearing, so many will change party.”

Bahinipati raised ‘Naveen Patnaik zindabaad’ slogan on stage during the platinum jubilee celebrations of Vikram Deb Autonomous College in Jeypore, Koraput on Friday. The college has been upgraded to a university.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was the chief guest at the Platinum Jubilee celebration of Vikram Deb Autonomous College, while Bahinipati, being the local MLA, was also present as a guest.

It is pertinent to mention here that in May 2022, Bahinipati had resigned from the Congress party's chief whip post and cited personal reasons.

(Reported By Jagdish Das, OTV)