In a shocking development, which will change the political equations in Odisha, former Lok Sabha MP and son-in-law of former CM and incumbent Assam Governor JB Patnaik, Mr. Soumya Ranjan Patnaik has been expelled from the Congress Party for anti-party activities.
Soumya Ranjan, who is also the Founder-Editor of Odisha’s largest circulated daily, ‘Sambad’, was issued a show-cause notice earlier. His elder brother Niranjan Patnaik was sacked as the PCC Chief a few months ago and replaced by Jayadev Jena.
AICC General Secretary BK Hariprasad, who is also in charge of Congress’ Odisha affairs, has announced the decision to expel Mr. Soymya Patnaik from the primary membership of the party for six years. According to him, Patnaik was penalised for his involvement in “gross indiscipline” and organising parallel meeting without the party’s approval.
Soumya Ranjan Patnaik had started his ‘Sankalp Yatra’ to rejuvenate the Congress cadres in July 2013. He held the yatra in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Khordha and many other places. That forced the Congress Disciplinary Committee headed by Harihar Karan to issue a show-cause notice to him on August 12.
Soumya defied the notice and held another yatra in Bhadrak on August 14 and then replied to the notice on August 21. On September 6, he held another big rally in Nayagarh. That prompted the Congress Party to take a drastic action and expel him from the party.
Hariprasad also revealed that the disciplinary committee of the Odisha PCC, had recommended Soumya Ranjan Patnaik’s expulsion from the party. The decision came a day after the Congress Party suffered cross-voting in at least three ULBs in Odisha and failed to win some, which were within its reach.
Mr. Patnaik expressed shock and surprise at the decision and said he did nothing wrong, which will warrant an expulsion. “If the party think my expulsion will them, then I welcome it. However, in a democracy, people power rule the roost and it is with me,” he further added.
However, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik’s expulsion may turn out to be a disaster for Odisha Congress, which has been without power for the last 13 years and even failed to project a leader to take on BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik. It is believed that Soumya may go aggressive to launch a new party and give a viable alternative to the people of Odisha.