AICC member thrown out for alleged anti-party activities
STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Bhubaneswar, 1 October
Former MP and AICC member Soumya Ranjan Patnaik was today expelled from the Congress for alleged anti-party activities.
The expulsion for six years was communicated to him by the AICC general secretary in charge of Odisha, Mr B K Hariprasad.
The disciplinary action against him was taken for his “Sankalp yatra” meetings in different districts. He had been served  a  showcause notice in August by the disciplinary committee of the OPCC. The disciplinary committee headed by Harihar Karan had recommended action against him.
 In his reaction, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik said he had never indulged in anti-party activities and that he had served the party selflessly for 25 years. He insisted that his Sankalp Yatra was aimed at strengthening the party and connecting the party with the people. He had  even invited Jayadev Jena to come to the meetings and see for himself whether any anti-party activity was taking place.
 “If the expulsion of a worker like me would benefit and bring success to the party, I wish them luck”, he remarked.
Evidently, beleaguered OPCC president Jayadev Jena who has failed miserably to make an impression amongst voters as well as senior Congress leaders, had decided to crack the whip to cover-up his failures, remarked disillusioned activists of the anti-Jena faction. Mr Jena, on his part, refused to be drawn into any controversy by pleading that he had no authority to expel or take action against a former MP or AICC member. “It is the AICC which had taken action on Soumya Ranjan Patnaik,” he said.
Clearly, Mr Jena was not in any position to face questions on what is being viewed in Congress circles as the “Jena and co targeting J B Patnaik loyalists”.
It is pertinent to note that Mr Patnaik happens to be the son-in-law of Assam Governor J B Patnaik and the brother of former OPCC chief Mr Niranjan Patnaik who is draggers drawn with Mr Jena.
The most telling comment in Congress circles here came from a lower rung worker who quipped, “ Rahul Gandhi has caused maximum damage to the party and image of the UPA government by his public utterances on the ordinance issue, but that does that mean he should be expelled”.
Though Soumya Ranjan Patnaik has very little following in the party, his stature as the head of a very successful  media house earned him a lot of respect.