Odisha legislators ask Sonia, Rahul to remove chief whip

Bhubaneswar/New Delhi, July 21 (IANS) Twelve Congress legislators from Odisha met party president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday demanding the removal of the party chief whip in the state assembly.

The legislators met Sonia and Rahul separately at Parliament House.

Congress leader Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra said the lawmakers visited Delhi to meet the Congress central leadership seeking the ouster of party chief whip Taraprasad Bahinipati.

Sources said “serious differences” have cropped up in the Congress Legislature Party ahead of the monsoon session of the assembly as one warring group was flexing its muscles to show Bahinipati the door.

However, Congress leader Naba Das, under whose leadership the legislators met Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, said they were not on a mission to oust or induct any one, rather it was simply a “courtesy visit”.

Reacting to the development, Bahinipati said those who made money from mines in the state were now camping in the national capital.

“I have full faith in the Gandhi family that they will take the right decision. Such brazen steps by some leaders will only weaken the morale of Congress workers in Odisha,” said Bahinipati.

He said he had never lobbied to become the chief whip.

State Congress chief Prasad Harichandan and Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra had met the party high command in Delhi last week.

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