According to a senior party leader, the Congress on Saturday expelled former Union Minister Srikant Jena and former MLA Krushna Chandra Sagaria for alleged anti-party activities.
The Odisha Congress’ disciplinary committee convener Ananta Prasad Sethi, made the announcement late last night saying, “Both Jena and Sagaria have been expelled from the party as per the approval of the All India Congress Committee.”
They issued anti-party statements to the media causing damage to the Congress and were expelled from the primary membership of the party, Sethi added.
The Congress leader further alleged that the two had also issued remarks against OPCC (Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee) functionaries.
While Jena was a former Union Minister in the previous UPA government, the Dalit leader, Sagaria represented Koraput in the state assembly.
Upset over failing to ensure justice for a rape and murder victim and her family at Kunduli in Koraput district, Sagaria, who was the lone Dalit MLA of the Congress in the party, had in November resigned from the membership of the Odisha assembly.
Earlier in the day, Sagaria had strongly criticised OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik by saying, “Congress is not a property of Niranjan Patnaik. He is indulging in anti-party activities by giving statements on who will get a ticket or not in the media.”
The Congress now seems to be in trouble in Odisha as few days prior to this, it’s working president Naba Kishore Das and tribal MLA Jogesh Singh resigned from the party to join BJD last week. At least six more sitting MLAs are likely to quit and join the BJD.
In 2014 Assembly polls, Congress had recorded its worst-ever performance in its electoral history winning just 16 seats that are merely 25.7 per cent of the votes polled. And now following the defections of Naba Kishore Das and Jogesh Singh and the expulsion of Sagaria and Jena, its strength in the House has come down to 12.
Similarly, in the 2017 panchayat polls, the Congress’ vote share dropped to less than 20 per cent as the party conceded the main opposition tag to the BJP.