Odisha: Congress MLA resigns after party suspended him for praising non-Congress Chief Minister

Odisha Congress MLAJogesh Kumar Singh had praised the works of CM Naveen Patnaik and said he would not attend Rahul Gandhi's rally in the state.

MLA from Sundargarh constituency in Odisha, Jogesh Kumar Singh has submitted his resignation from Congress party after he was suspended for his alleged anti-party remarks. He also resigned from the legislative assembly. This has come days after Jharsugda MLA Nabha Das, declared defection to BJD. Jogesh Kumar Singh had openly praised CM Naveen Patnaik for his “extraordinary work”, and also decided not to attend upcoming President Rahul Gandhi’s rally in Odisha.

“Jogesh Singh has given statements which are against the party. He had categorically stated that he will not be attending the meeting of AICC president Rahul Gandhi in Odisha on January 25,” PCC disciplinary committee convenor, Ananta Sethi told media. He added that they served the MLA a show-cause notice, to which no answer was received.

The suspension could not have come at the worst time, since the party is fighting the battle of existence in the state since the year 2000, and many of its leaders are defecting to incumbent Biju Janta Dal. Jogesh Kumar has asserted that neither his any statements were against party nor did he indulge in any anti-party activities.

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“I am surprised as I have not done or spoken anything against the party. Is praising State’s Chief Minister who was awarded best administrator award wrong?” Singh was quoted by reports. He also said that his decision not to attend Rahul Gandhi upcoming rally in the state on 25 January, was taken even before the declaration of the rally.

“I had already finalised public meetings in my constituency much before Rahul’s itinerary was finalised. Besides, I have to attend my close friend’s wedding on January 25. If my refusal to attend Rahul’s meeting enraged the party, I have nothing to say,” Jogesh Singh was quoted by Times of India. He has also rubbished claims of the party that, he was sent a show-cause notice and that he did not give back a reply.

This is not the first time that national party is facing such a crisis. In the run-up to 2014 general elections, two Odisha Congress leaders Anup Sai, legislative party secretary and Bhupinder Singh, Leader of Opposition, had defected and joined the BJD. Similarly, Nayagarh district president of Congress Kumar Hemendra Singh had also joined BJD and had accused that time vice-president of Congress Rahul Gandhi of turning a blind eye towards the party’s grassroots-level workers.

Along with Jogesh Singh, another party leader and MLA from Salepur Prakash Behera had also praised CM Patnaik development works in the state. He is also speculated to quite the party and join BJD. However, Ananta Sethi has said that MLA Behera, has so far not indulged in any anti-party activity, but added that leaders who indulge in same will not be spared.

MLA Jogesh Kumar Singh had declared that following his suspension, he will resign from the party and also from his MLA post. However, he has not responded to speculations that he will join BJD soon.

The elections to the Odisha Assembly will take place concurrently with Lok Sabha elections later this year.

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