Congress denies infighting figured in closed door meeting

Bhubaneswar: A closed door meeting of the State Congress with sitting MLAs of the party has fuelled speculation that the meeting had been convened to discuss intra-party fighting and demand to replace the Opposition chief whip.

The party top brass, however, has rejected the claim saying that the discussion at the meeting centred around the party’s future plan for agitation over implementation of Forest Right Act.

“No discussion on the lines you are thinking was held today. We discussed the party’s plan for the future,” PCC president Prasad Harichandan said.

Opposition chief whip Taraprasad Bahinipati has also denied any talk on replacing him took place at the meeting. “Nobody raised anything against me in the meeting where I was present,” Bahinipati said.

Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra and deputy leader Chiranjib Biswal, who were absent in the conference, later talked to the leaders over phone.

Some incidents in the party have fuelled speculation of a discussion on a plan to unite the senior members. Some leaders had recently discussed the party affairs with vice president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi. A group of MLAs had also demanded before the Congress scion to change Tara Prasad Bahinipati as Opposition chief whip. Senior leader Hemananda Biswal and Niranjan Patnaik had also toured Delhi and met the high command over some internal party matters.