After Naba Das, Jogesh Singh and Prakash Behera may leave Congerss
Bhubaneswar: Even as Congress MLA from Jharsuguda and the party’s state working president, Naba Das, is all set to switch to ruling BJD, the grand old party was in for fresh trouble Monday. Two other party legislators—Jogesh Singh and Prakash Behera are likely to exit Congress.
According to sources, Das will join the BJD at a public rally January 24 in his home turf in presence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Sources said, Sundargarh MLA Jogesh Singh and Salipur MLA Prakash Behera are also likely to join the BJD. If the three leaders leave Congress, it may have an adverse impact on the Congress’s prospect in the crucial 2019 elections, sources said.
“The ruling party is in a good position for 20 years now and is going strong. We too enjoy the support of people. It is up to the high command to take a decision. If he wants, I will contest the election,” Behera told mediapersons here Monday. He, however, did not reveal who the high command is—of the Congress or of the BJD?
Behera made it clear that he is not going to fight elections as an independent candidate. If Behera joins the BJD, it would be a big jolt to the Congress in Cuttack district where he holds good influence a sway in the region.
Speculation about the Salepur MLA joining the BJD has been rife since 2016 when he shared the dais with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and other BJD leaders at a meeting in Salipur where he praised the CM. In June 2018, Behera had resigned from the post of Cuttack district Congress committee president, adding fuel to the speculation.
Sundargarh MLA Jogesh Singh had recently said he is holding discussions with their supporters and will take a decision soon. “I have always received the support of people from my constituency. I will take my future course of action as per their advice,” Singh said.
The statements of the two Congress leaders are clear indication that they have started thinking about quitting the Congress.
Reacting to Naba Das’s joining in the BJD, Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Niranjan Patnaik said it will have zero impact on the party. He also indirectly said Das has taken the decision to suit his business interest. “Political leaders, who leave a party ahead of elections, lack principles and they often do it for their commercial benefits,” said Patnaik.
State Congress’s Disciplinary Committee chief Hemananda Biswal said, “Good times are ahead for the Congress after the party’s win in three states and Das’s decision to quit the party at this time is unfortunate.” Stating that BJD wants to win the elections with the help of Congress leaders, senior Congress leader Pradeep Majhi said people will reject the party.