Bhubaneswar: With party leaders quitting the party at regular interval, the Odisha Congress seems to have gone into damage control mode.
The state unit of Congress on Saturday expelled former Union Minister Srikant Jena and ex-MLA of Koraput Krushna Chandra Sagaria from the primary membership of the party on disciplinary grounds. The bold measure came two days after Sundargarh MLA Jogesh Singh was suspended from the party for alleged anti-party activities.
“The leaders (Srikant and Sagaria) were dismissed from the primary membership of Congress for their anti-party remarks to media and comments against the office bearers,” disciplinary committee convener Ananta Sethi said in a press statement. He added that they were removed as per the recommendation of the All India Congress Committee.
Sagaria said that he was yet to get the expulsion order officially. “I came to know about it from media. I’ve never indulged in any anti-party activities. I resigned as MLA opposing the state government,” he added.
Srikant had resigned from the party’s core and campaign committees on December 9, 2018, three days after being removed as chairman of Congress manifesto committee for assembly election as he had openly challenged the leadership of OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik. He had suggested the name of Odisha-in-charge Jitender Singh, a member of the backward committee, as the chief minister candidate of the party.
On November 6, 2018, Sagaria had formally resigned as Member of the Odisha Legislative Assembly stating that he took the decision having failed to provide justice to the Kunduli minor gang rape victim despite being the people’s representative of Koraput.
He, however, had said that he would remain in Congress and work for the party.
The expulsion of the party leaders have come a week ahead of Congress president Rahul Gandhi visit to Odisha during which he is slated to meet the party workers here.
Singh, the Sundargarh MLA, had resigned from the party on Friday, a day after he was suspended from the party after allegations of anti-party activities surfaced against him.
On January 16, Jharsuguda MLA and Congress’ Odisha working president Naba Kishore Das had quit the party.