Niranjan Patnaik sold Congress to BJD: NSUI Convenor 

Bhubaneswar: Infighting within the Odisha Congress came out in the open today when Itish Kumar Pradhan, convenor of the student wing of the party (National Students Union of India, NSUI), openly accused Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) chief Niranjan Patnaik of ‘selling’ the grand old party to the ruling-BJD in the State.

Addressing a presser here on Thursday, Itish said that the person who destroyed Congress is now talking about putting the house in order. “We want his expulsion (Niranjan Patnaik). A few days ago, party leader Amar Pradhan stated that a villain is there within the party and he will inform the party high command about the same.”

Itish further alleged that “Patnaik is a businessman and he thinks Congress is his paternal property… We will definitely protest him as he has surrendered the party to the BJD. We don’t want a businessman to be at the helm of the party here,” he said.

Elaborating the plans of the student wing, Pradhan said that hundreds of students and party workers from the State will go to Delhi and meet the high command and apprise the AICC chief about the matter. “We will also draw the attention of the AICC towards the areas where we need to work to strengthen the party in Odisha,” he added.

Responding to the allegations, Odisha Congress spokesperson Padmakar Guru said that a person like Pradhan, whom the party top leadership trusted and gave such a higher position and also a ticket, making such allegations against the party president and sacrificing party interest for personal interest is an act that can only be done by a ‘beiman’ (traitor).

Responding to the allegations of Pradhan against the OPCC chief, Party’s Odisha in-charge, Jitendra Singh said, “If such statements have been made at a press meet, stern action will be taken. It is not NSUI’s job to comment on Congress’ functioning. Besides, the NSUI has not been given the responsibility to review the party’s performance in the 2019 polls.”