NSUI activists Wednesday barged into the hotel room of Congress general secretary in-charge of Odisha BK Hariprasad here and shouted at him over the non-participation of any senior party leader at the funeral of Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra, a reputed Odisha Congress leader, who passed away at a private hospital in Gurugram on Sunday night.
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The NSUI activists barged into the hotel room of Hariprasad, where he was holding a meeting with Odisha Congress chief Prasad Harichandan, and shouted at him for the “neglect’ shown by the party’s top leadership to Mohapatra.
Though Hariprasad was in the state capital Tuesday, he neither visited Mohapatra’s residence nor attended his funeral.
Besides Hariprasad and Harichandan, Congress secretary Subhankar Sarkar was also present in the hotel room when Mohapatra’s supporters reportedly raised slogans against the “Delhi leader”.
Shouting “Delhi neta go back”, they openly “threatened” Hariprasad not to allow any central leader of the Congress into the state.
“Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra and Hariprasad were present at the meeting. We discussed the panchayat elections and future programmes of the party,” said Harichandan.
He, however, did not speak a word on the NSUI activists’ “challenge” to the AICC leader.
There was resentment over the “neglect” shown to Mohapatra among the state Congress leaders and workers.
“AICC leader Ghulam Nabi Azad had visited the hospital.
But, it would have been befitting if the leaders at the helm had visited the hospital,” Congress MLA Prafulla Majhi said, apparently in a reference to party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
Another Congress legislator Jogesh Singh said, “Mohapatra was the only leader in Odisha who had a network covering all the 30 districts of the state. The Congress’ central leadership ignored him. It would have been proper if senior leaders were present at his funeral.”
Student and Youth Congress activists, among whom Mohapatra enjoyed a considerable popularity, were annoyed with Rahul for failing to visit the three-time MLA at the hospital.
“BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik paid his tributes to Mohapatra by visiting his residence before the funeral yesterday, but we are pained that Rahul Gandhi did not come to see him at the hospital,” said a senior Congress leader, adding that Mohapatra had contributed a lot to the party over 35 years.
Angry Student Congress activists also expressed their displeasure over AICC’s “attitude” towards the party’s senior leaders in Odisha.