Bhubaneswar, May 11: The feud between Congress leader and Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and AICC leader in charge of Odisha affairs Jagdish Tytler came to the fore as three party MLAs were warned for complaining against the state leadership during the former’s visit to the city.
Three Congress MLAs — Dusmant Naik, Surendra Singh Bhoi and Shyam Charan Hansda — were issued letters by AICC leader Tytler for “breach of party discipline”. They were reportedly cautioned not to repeat such “act of indiscipline” in the future.
Though the reason of the “indiscipline” on the part of the three party legislators was not explicitly mentioned, sources said their meeting with Azad had invited the wrath of Tytler. The three had reportedly urged Azad’s attention to the party’s debacle in the last panchayat polls. Azad had been in charge of Odisha affairs in the party several times in the past.
Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee chief Niranjan Patnaik, however, said he was not aware of the development. “I have not received the copy of the reported warning letter yet,” said Patnaik.
A group of party leaders, including a few legislators had met Azad, led by former PCC working president and dissident leader Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra on May 6 during his two-day visit to the city.
Sources said the group discussed the state of affairs in the state unit, including the debacle in two recent bypolls and panchayat elections, and demanded a change in the state leadership.
Mohapatra, who is known to be close to Azad, was in race for PCC president’s post during the last organisational poll. However, the party high command anointed Patnaik as the state chief.
On the other hand, Tytler ruled out the possibility of leadership change in the state. “Several MPs, MLAs and party workers are meeting AICC president Sonia Gandhi and it does not mean that there would be leadership change in Odisha,” he had told reporters here recently before leaving for New Delhi.
Though the three party MLAs, who were issued warning letter, declined to comment on the matter, dissident leader Mohapatra, however, came out openly in their defence.
“Meeting Azad, who was in charge of Odisha for four times in the past, and discussing party affairs freely does not amount to indiscipline,” he said
Party insiders say Mohapatra does not enjoy a cordial relation with Tytler, who replaced Azad. Tytler, who addressed a number of zonal conferences in Cuttack, Berhampur and other places, warned the party leaders and workers for indiscipline.