In a huge blow to the Odisha Congress, state working president Naba Kishore Das resigned from the party on Wednesday, saying people from his Jharsuguda constituency wanted him to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from the ruling BJD. Das’ resignation comes days before Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the state.
In a letter to Gandhi, Das said, “On public and voters pressured request, I have decided to resign from Congress primary membership and from the post of Odisha working president.”
The Jharsuguda MLA further said that voters of his area wanted development of the constituency and that he should join hands with Odisha Chief Minister and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik.
“People and voters of my area want that I should contest the next elections 2019 from BJD as they want our area should develop and I should join hands with Naveen Patnaik,” he said.
In a possible hint that he would join the BJD as early as next week, Das said, “All these valuable suggestions of my people, I shall place before the CM on his visit to Jharsuguda on January 24.”
“I have said that Rahul Gandhi is a good leader. So is (Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president) Niranjan Patnaik. But I shall listen to the people of my constituency,” he further said in the letter.
Last week, Patnaik had ruled out any possibility of BJD joining the grand alliance for the Lok Sabha elections. Patnaik said as part of his party’s policy, the BJD would continue to maintain equal distance from both the BJP and the Congress.