J.B. Patnaik quits Congress Legislature Party

J.B. Patnaik

J.B. Patnaik  

Prafulla Das

BHUBANESWAR: The former Orissa Chief Minister, J.B. Patnaik, was on Saturday removed as leader of the Congress Legislature Party and prominent tribal leader Rama Chandra Ulaka was chosen for the post. Pradesh Congress Committee president Jayadev Jena was also asked to resign from his post.

Mr. Ulaka was elected as the CLP leader soon after Mr. Patnaik tendered his resignation in the presence of three All-India Congress Committee observers at the party headquarters here.

The observer team comprised AICC general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi, Orissa in-charge of the party and Union Minister of State for Urban Development Ajay Maken, and Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V. Narayanasamy.

The AICC move to drop Mr. Patnaik and Mr. Jena from their posts was aimed at putting an end to the problem of infighting before the Lok Sabha elections. The name of Mr. Jena’s successor will be announced by the AICC soon, Mr. Dwivedi said.

Union Minister of State for Rural Development Chandra Sekhar Sahu, Rajya Sabha member and prominent trade union leader Ramchandra Khuntia, and the former Union Minister, K.P. Singh Deo, were among those being considered for the PCC president’s post, party sources said.

The election of Mr. Ulaka as the CLP leader was announced after the observers apprised the party high command of their discussion with the legislators.

Congress being the main Opposition party, Mr. Ulaka will be the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly. He, however, will work as Opposition Leader for a brief period before the elections.

Mr. Ulaka represented Koraput in the Lok Sabha between 1962 and 1970. He was then elected to the Assembly from Rayagada segment six times in a row between 1974 and 2000, and re-elected in 2004.

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