Bouncers in Congress Bhawan: Infighting In Odisha Unit Gets Uglier

Bhubaneswar: Already grappling with infighting and unable to put its best foot forward in the State, the Odisha unit of Congress is now facing even more embarrassment after reports of bouncers being engaged to protect party leaders from resentment brewing among different factions.

Tension ran high at Congress Bhawan here on Friday after a heated argument ensued between supporters of former National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) Odisha convener, Itish Pradhan and another group. Following the incident, several musclemen were seen guarding the main exit and entry points during a meeting which was chaired by OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik and State in-charge Jitendra Singh at the party headquarters.

Even though no one has been vocal about why and by whom the security guards were deployed that too at the headquarters of the party, several senior leaders of the party have openly condemned the move while some others have gone to the extent saying that they will take up the matter with the party’s high command.

Senior party leader and former Union Minister Kanhu Charan Lenka said that he had never witnessed such scenes in his entire career.

“Such incident had never happened under the tenure of any PCC presidents. I will apprise the party high command about the matter because it is such a disgraceful incident that I feel quite embarrassed,” said Lenka.

Senior MLA Suresh Routray toed Lenka’s line and said the move to deploy bouncers at the Congress Bhawan was completely unwarranted. “I condemn the incident, besides, I think that we are so capable that we don’t even care about such bouncers,” said Routray.

Asked about reason behind such incident, senior leader Amar Pradhan made some serious remarks while alleging that it is a sign of party’s gradual decline.

“I think that if the party leadership deployed the bouncers, it might be because it was trying to save itself from any attack and that happens only when someone has lost control,” said Pradhan.

On the other hand, OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik refuted deployment of any bouncers at the party headquarters.

“I don’t think that any bouncers were present at the party head office as is being reported in media. These are baseless allegations,” said Patnaik.