Ranchi; Aug. 27: An embarrassed central Congress leadership has directed the state party unit to seek explanations from newly appointed minister Yogendra Sao, who on Sunday claimed that his contacts in Delhi helped him secure a cabinet berth in the Hemant Soren government.
State party chief Sukhdeo Bhagat confirmed it. “The minister must explain his position. We will have to submit a report to the central leaders, who are upset over his statements,” he added.
State party in-charge B.K. Hariprasad has also sought the video footage of Sao’s statements made during an event in Ranchi. The final report is expected to be sent by tomorrow.
Meanwhile, under fire Sao met Bhagat at the latter’s residence today late in the evening to explain his position.
According to sources, Sao requested for reprieve this time, saying he had no intention to malign the party or any senior leader.
“The comments were made out of emotion and should not be taken in a wrong sense,” a party leader quoted Sao as saying.
On Sunday, Sao claimed that he had to lobby hard for his case. “Main 15 dinon tak Delhi me raha, lekin fir bhi mantri ban ne ka nam nahi aya. Delhi me bahut jyada pairvi karni padti hai. Ahmed Patel se lekar Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, maine kiya kya vistar se nahi bata sakta. Rajniti me juta sine se lekar Chandi paath tak karma padta hai, (I stayed in Delhi for 15 days but my name was not considered. Delhi requires hard lobbying. I can’t explain you in detail what all I did for it. Right from Ahmed Patel to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, I met everybody. In politics, you need to do everything),” Sao told the gathering.
This is not first time when Sao made imprudent remarks in public. In 2010, during an anti-NTPC protest in Hazaribagh, he had said he had no fear because he used to run two rebel groups — Maoist Communist Centre and Tritiya Prastuti Committee. The 1.12-minute video footage of the speech is available with The Telegraph.
Party sources said the minister might not be given a “pink slip” immediately for his inflated and unsavoury remarks, but his political future now seemed uncertain.
“Removing him now will mean that the party is accepting its mistake of selecting a politically uncouth man for a ministerial berth. In this case, the leadership may ask him to abstain from making any statements, casual or official, without prior approval from the party,” a senior Congress leader said.
The state leadership has already sent two separate reports to the high command after Sao took oath on Saturday. One was about seething anger among workers over his appointment and the other was on Sao and his supporters’ behaviour inside and outside Raj Bhavan on Saturday that left party leaders red faced.
“All these are planted news. My detractors, unhappy with my rise, are behind this,” Sao said.
“I have already explained my position to Hariprasadji and the state party president,” Sao said.