Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: The rift in Odisha Congress Legislature Party (CLP) seems to be widening further as three legislators of the party have reportedly backed senior leader Bhakta Das for the post of Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief.

In a written memorandum to the AICC observers’ team, all the three MLAs have pledged their support to Das, a development that is now being seen as a major setback for other legislature party members who were lobbying hard for Niranjan Patnaik for the top post.

Though 15 MLAs of Congress had earlier met the AICC observers’ team at Congress Bhawan on August 13, two legislators—Jacob Pradhan and Krushna Chandra Sagaria met the team later in a hotel the same night.

Both the leaders reportedly submitted a memorandum which was also signed by MLA Kailash Kulesika to the AICC team.

Earlier, the Congress legislature party had suggested AICC team to make Niranjan Patnaik the next Odisha PCC chief in place of incumbent Prasad Harichandan.

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“We had not raised voice earlier to avoid any controversy. But as no opportunity was given to us to meet AICC observers individually, we had met the AICC team later in the night. We have given our opinion that it will be good for the party if Bhakta Das is picked for the PCC post,” said Jacob Pradhan.

Sagaria on the other hand admitted to have met the AICC observers’ team ‘secretly’.

Meanwhile, Congress Chief Whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati has clearly refuted any kind of ‘pressure tactics’ being used on MLAs.

“The two MLAs, who had met the central team secretly, are not kids and they could have expressed their views at the legislature party meeting. Everybody has signed the resolution to make Niranjan Patnaik the next OPPC chief,” said Bahinipati.