Dilip Kumar

Bhubaneswar: Tension flared up at Congress Bhawan on Thursday following a clash between two groups of party workers in presence of senior leaders including Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Niranjan Patnaik.

The fracas broke out ahead of the party's general council meeting after one group accused the members of another camp of siding with ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

A section of party workers alleged that OBC Cell president of the PCC Bishnu Charan Barik along with his supporters were indulged in anti-party activities by siding with BJD.

Barik and his family members had campaigned for BJD during last by-election to Jagatsinghpur Assembly segment. Due to his anti-party activities, we lost our popular leader Chiranjeev Biswal in the poll. We request the PCC president to remove Barik from the party immediately,” a party worker said.

Situation turned ugly after Barik was vehemently opposed to take part in the general council meeting. A stage erected on the premises of the party office for the meeting has been demolished in the tussle.

On the other hand, Barik has rubbished the allegations levelled against him. "I have no political affiliation with BJD and its leaders. A BJD MLA is the friend of my younger brother. He keeps coming to our house as a family friend," Barik said.

Meanwhile, PCC president Niranjan Patnaik has assured action against the indiscipline workers who have created nuisance.

"We will conduct a thorough inquiry into the allegation levelled against OBC cell president. If he is found to have involved in any such activities that go against the party's interest, action will definitely be taken against him. If anyone has any issues, they should bring their resentment to the AICC and PCC. Indiscipline in any form will be strictly dealt with," Patnaik said.

A detailed discussion will be held in the meeting, he added.