Congress Bhavan attacked, OPCC chief’s effigy burnt

Bhubaneswar: A group of protesters, suspected to be supporters of expelled former MP Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, on Saturday attacked the Congress Bhavan here and burnt an effigy of OPCC chief Jayadev Jena.
 
"A large number of youths stormed into the Congress Bhavan and ransacked furniture and other material shouting slogans for Soumya Patnaik," senior Congress leader Sameer Routray, who was present during the incident, said.
 
The protesters also burnt an effigy of the PCC chief in front of the Bhawan shouting slogans against OPCC president Jayadev Jena, Routray said, adding that later on police chased them away.
 
Patnaik was expelled from the primary membership of Congress this week on the charge of organising parallel programmes on the basis of the OPCC chief's recommendation.
 
His alleged supporters earlier attacked the house of Harihar Karan, the chairman of the OPCC's disciplinary Committee.
 
Jena condemned the incident and said, "Congress Bhavan is the temple for lakhs of partymen and women in the state. Any attack on our temple is unacceptable." 
 
OPCC Vice-President Kishore Patel said, "He (Patnaik) is simply harming his political future." 
 
Patnaik, however, denied that his supporters attacked Congress Bhavan and said that they might have gone there to know why he was expelled from the party.
 
Patnaik, son-in-law of former Odisha CM and present Assam Governor J B Patnaik and younger brother of former PCC chief Niranjan Patnaik, claimed that his expulsion from Congress was part of a conspiracy against him.
 
The OPCC filed an FIR at the Capital police station in connection with the attack while Namita Panda, a follower of Patnaik, lodged an FIR at the Mahila police station charging OPCC president's son Sangram Jena with misbehaving with her during the demonstration.



"We have received two FIRs. One from OPCC president Jaydev Jena group and another from a person supported by Soumya Ranjan Patnaik," ACP Pradeep Kumar Patnaik said.



Panda, the women wing president of Khurda district Congress, alleged that Sangram, president of the state Youth Congress and his friends misbehaved with her in presence of Jaydev Jena.



"Sangram and his friends attacked me as I was leading a group of people. We were demanding to know the reason behind expulsion of Soumya Ranjan Patnaik," she said.



Panda alleged that Sangram's friends also snatched away a gold chain from her.



"We are looking into the allegations made by both the sides," the ACP said.