Embarrassed Odisha Cong slams Tharoor for statement on Naveen

Bhubaneswar: Embarrassed over Union Minister Shashi Tharoor's recent remarks on BJD supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Congress' Odisha unit today said it has lodged protest with party high command as he had no authority to speak on state matters.

"It may be the personal view of the Union Minister Sashi Tharoor. He has no authority to speak about the party matters in Odisha. We have already lodged our protest with the concerned AICC leader," Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) President Jaydev Jena told reporters here.

He said that Tharoor during his visit did not contact Congress leaders in the state and also refrained from visiting Congress Bhavan here.

During his visit to the state on Friday, Tharoor had told a local news channel "Congress door is always open for Naveen Patnaik.

"But, it is not my place to work in the area. I have a different role. But, I know, many in our party have a high level of respect for Naveen Patnaik for taking leadership in Odisha."

Tharoor had further said "Naveen leads a secular party with which the Congress has no basic fundamental difference."

OPCC spokesman Narasingha Mishra said Tharoor had no experience in running the party.

Senior leader Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra said "he (Tharor) has come from bureaucracy. Therefore, he does not know how the party workers and leaders work in grassroot level."

OPCC sources said the party was also in a fix as it has often decried Patnaik as an "autocrat" while the Union minister called BJD supremo a "democrat".

Also, Tharoor praised the Mid-Day-Meal Scheme in Odisha while the Congress had been highlighting lacunae in its implementation.