Senior Congress leader Pranay Sahu resigns from party

Bargarh: Senior Congress leader from Bijepur in Bargarh district, Pranay Sahu today resigned from the primary membership of the party.

The development is seen as yet another jolt to Congress ahead of the general elections with desertion and ouster of four other senior leaders – Srikant Jena, Naba Kishore Das, Jogesh Singh and Krushna Chanda Sagaria, recently.

In a letter to Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Niranjan Patnaik, Sahu wrote, “I wish to tender my resignation from membership of Indian National Congress (INC) party and also all the post which I was serving in the party.”

Speaking to OTV after tendering his resignation, Sahu said, “It has been one year since the Bijepur bypolls concluded. I wanted the party to review what led to the defeat of Congress in the by-elections- was it the because of the candidate, the party or people’s opinion. But nothing was done in this regard which is one of the reasons of my discontentment.”

“Besides, I was not given any role in the party after the reorganisation of Congress following the bypolls. Gradually, people are losing faith in the party due to the infighting,” added Sahu.

Sahu was the candidate from the party during the Bijepur bypolls in February last year against BJD’s Rita Sahu and BJP’s Ashok Panigrahi. However, he came third with 10,274 votes and lost his deposit.

Meanwhile, the OPCC chief said “He (Sahu) knows why he resigned from the party and I don’t want to give any importance whatsoever.”

Senior Congress leader Arya Kumar Gyanendra, on the other hand, said such resignations won’t affect the party’s prospects in the State. “We are not concerned who is quitting or joining the party, as the party organisation is still strong. We are not at all bothered and I am confident that the party will win the 2019 elections and form government in Odisha,” said Gyanendra.

“He was there in the party for one after the bypolls. If he really wanted to introspect the reasons behind his defeat in Bijepur by-elections, he should have reviewed it either himself or from those (referring to Prasad Harichandan) who had fielded him as the candidate. Why is Sahu raising the issue now?” the senior leader added.

Former Union Minister Srikant Jena and ex-MLA of Koraput, Krushna Chandra Sagaria were dismissed from Congress on disciplinary grounds on January 19. Prior to that, MLAs Naba Das and Jogesh Singh had also tendered their resignation.

It may be mentioned here that Jena had earlier resigned from all party posts by openly challenging the leadership of OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik in December 2018, while Sagaria had formally resigned from the MLA post on November 6, 2018.