JB’s remark hints at Soumya’s return to Congress

Bhubaneswar: The possibility of former Congress leader Soumyaranjan Patnaik’s return to the party is seemingly not distant now, if party stalwart Janaki Ballabh Patnaik’s Monday statement is anything to go by.

As speculated before the arrival of the former Assam Guvernor in Odisha who completed his tenure on December 11, that his son-in-law could make a comeback to the grand old party after his unceremonious expulsion in October last, a similar comment from the veteran leader has raised many an eyebrow.

“Efficient leaders who were removed from party should be brought back to strengthen Congress in Odisha,” JB Patnaik told OTV.

He further stated, “The party needs the force of youth who can drive it towards success.”

The statement, when the party got its new chief few days back, has not only given fresh fodder to the speculative talks of Soumya’s return to the party, but hinted at a possible resentment in it. Notably, on December 9, a group of state Congress leaders had gathered at an unofficial party event to discuss further strategies to replace Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief Jayadev Jena.

After six days, on December 15 the AICC appointed senior leader Prasad Harichandan as the chief of Odisha unit.
Meanwhile Soumya said, “He did not desert Congress but was driven out of party contemptuously.”

On October 1, 2013 the Congress expelled the former Lok Sabha member for six years for anti-party activities.
Patnaik, an AICC member had allegedly addressed several rallies across the state in the past months despite warning by the state Congress leadership.

“If this is the reward for serving the party for 25 long years, I have nothing to say. I do not think I have done anything to deserve this,” Patnaik had said, reacting to his expulsion.