Congress Legislature Party secretary Anup Sai follows suit

With Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh and Congress Legislature Party secretary Anup Sai joining BJD ahead of elections in Odisha, the ruling party claimed that “mass exodus” of senior leaders from the state’s main opposition party is likely to continue.

“Some more senior Congress leaders are in contact with me to join the party,” BJD MP Pinaki Mishra said but refused to divulge the names.

Odisha PCC vice-president-cum-spokesman Sarat Rout, however, said the party is not worried over those who quit it.

“You will see the entry of many senior leaders into Congress in coming days,” Mr. Rout told newspersons.

While Mr. Singh’s resignation has sent shock waves in political circles in the state, the wave of defections began earlier. Kamala Das, a senior leader from Balasore district, quit the Congress barely two days back.

Ms. Das, who had been a minister under Biju Patnaik in the 1990s and the Naveen Patnaik-led cabinet in early 2000, said, “I quit Congress protesting against the whims of its state leadership. They do not have any respect for senior and women leaders.”

Prior to her, former minister Ramakrushna Patnaik and his wife, former MP Kumudini from Ganjam district, also quit Congress on the same grounds, followed by another former MLA Umesh Swain from Jagatsinghpur district.

The Patnaik couple, who had joined Congress after quitting the BJD in 2002, alleged that they were ignored by the state Congress leadership. They are yet to join any party.

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