MLAs’ Delhi visit splits Congress in State

Bhubaneswar: With 12 Congress MLAs from Odisha meeting party president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi today, signs of an internecine war within the party unit surfaced as it is being claimed that the visit was aimed at demanding the removal of Taraprasad Bahinipati from the post of party’s chief whip in the State Assembly.

Congress leader Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra said the lawmakers visited Delhi to meet the party high command seeking Bahinipati’s ouster.

Sources said “serious differences” have cropped up in the Congress Legislature Party ahead of the monsoon session of the Assembly as one warring group is flexing its muscles to show Bahinipati the door.

However, Congress leader Naba Das, under whose leadership the legislators met the party central leadership, said they were not on a mission to oust or induct any one, rather it was simply a “courtesy visit”.

Reacting to the development, Bahinipati said those who made money from mines in the State are now camping in the national capital.

“I have full faith in the Gandhi family that they will take the right decision. Such brazen steps by some leaders will only weaken the morale of Congress workers in Odisha,” said Bahinipati.

He said he had never lobbied to become the chief whip.

State Congress chief Prasad Harichandan and Leader of Opposition Narsingh Mishra had met the Gandhis in Delhi last week.