Cong suspends horse-trading tainted MLA

Bhubaneswar: About a year after the Rajya Sabha elections in Orissa, Congress on Tuesday suspended Lanjigarh MLA Shibaji Majhi from the the party.

The party`s action came barely within a week of release of an audio tape by a private news channel which claimed that two BJD ministers had negotiated with Majhi to refrain from voting in the RS polls.

Majhi was among the three MLAs, two others being Congress`s Gregory Minz and Bhimsen Choudhury of BJP, who did not vote in the RS polls. With three opposition MLAs abstaining from the voting, the ruling BJD`s third candidate could easily win the polls.

While the BJP had already suspended Choudhury on charge of facilitating the BJD candidate to win the polls, the Congress could not take any action due to lack of sufficient evidence against the two MLAs.

During the RS elections Congress had issued a three-line whip asking its MLAs to vote for independent candidate Tara Ranjan Patnaik. However, party MLAs Majhi and Minz abstained from voting.

"The party took action against Majhi after getting evidence against him," a statement issued by the PCC said.

Meanwhile, PCC`s chief spokesman Prof Kailash Acharya said that the party was contemplating "appropriate" action against Minz too.

However, the party could not take action against Minz who too abstained from voting in the RS polls.

Claiming innocence, Majhi on his party, had said that he could not vote in the RS polls due to illness. "I was admitted at a hospital in Mumbai and later shifted to another hospital in the city," Majhi said claiming that he had no evil intention behind remaining absent on the voting day.

Earlier, the party had demanded resignation of the two ministers for allegedly engineering the horsetrading in the polls last year.