Odisha Congress, a divided house on discipline?

Bhubaneswar: After Krushna Chandra Sagaria and Tara Prasad Bahinipati, the on-going tug of war between Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik and senior Congress leader Srikant Jena seems to be snowballing into a major controversy ahead of AICC president Rahul Gandhi’s scheduled visit to the State.

Though initially the exchange of words was limited between Srikant Jena and Niranjan Patnaik following the removal of the former from the Congress Manifesto Committee, other leaders of the party have jumped on to the bandwagon expressing their views against each other more publicly now.

Senior leader and Opposition party chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati today termed Srikant Jena’s proposal for a SC/ ST and other OBC candidate for chief minister and deputy CM post, as ‘anti-party’. Moreover, he also sought dismissal of Jena if the latter continues to indulge in such indiscipline.

“As a senior leader such statements from him (Srikant) are totally uncalled for and stern action needs to be taken against those who don’t follow the instructions of the high command,” said Bahinipati.

However, such statements of Bahinipati drew sharp reactions from the former chairperson of Congress Disciplinary Committee, Sandhya Mohapatra. She said that Bahinipati had also indulged in indiscipline when Prasad Harichandan was the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee chief. “Such statements of Bahinipati on Srikant Jena or any other leader is certainly hilarious,” said Mohapatra.

Congress Campaign Committee chairperson and senior party leader Bhakta Das, on the other hand, claimed that Congress is a huge party and obliviously there would some indiscipline at times. However, it doesn’t mean that everything should come to the discipline committee, he added.

“Not raking up the issues raised by AICC in the country and State is also indiscipline and will suspending someone from party resolve all issues?” questioned Bhakta Das.

Senior party leader Sura Routray on the other hand claimed that party comes first and leaders thereafter. “If anybody hatches a conspiracy, AICC president Rahul Gandhi will take a final decision. We all should work united to make the party strong,” said Routray.