BHUBANESWAR: A day after he was expelled from the party, former Union minister Srikant Jena on Sunday came down heavily on Congress president Rahul Gandhi and president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Niranjan Patnaik.
Criticising Gandhi for protecting the ‘mining mafia’ in Odisha, Jena announced at a media conference here that he will launch a campaign to free the state from the rule of Patnaik family. Alleging that the affairs of Congress have been handed over to ‘mining mafia’, Jena said that though he had taken up the matter with
Gandhi a number of times, he did not take any action in this regard.
“Rahul Gandhi has decided that the governance of Odisha will remain under the Patnaik families for which he has agreed to a tacit alliance between the Congress and the BJD president Naveen Patnaik,” Jena told mediapersons here.
In a late night development on Saturday, Jena was expelled from the primary membership of Congress by Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) following the recommendation of the All India Congress
Explaining the reasons for his expulsion from the Congress, he said he may not have the eligibility to become a member of the Congress which is “eminently eligible” to accumulate properties from the loot of the mines.
“Despite being aware of this, Rahul entrusted the state party leadership to him and created an opportunity for the Congress for an unholy nexus with the mining mafia in Odisha. I will intensify my campaign to free Odisha from the rule of the Patnaik family and expose the complicity of the BJD government with the
mining mafia”, he said.
Targeting the chief minister Naveen Patnaik, the former union minister alleged that he is calling the shots in Odisha Congress through BJD Rajya Sabha MP Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, brother of the OPCC president. Jena further said that he will make another revelation during the visit of Gandhi to Bhubaneswar on January 25.
Claiming that he is not involved in any corrupt activities since his 40 years of political career, he said no one, not even the people of his Balasore Lok Sabha constituency has brought any charge of corruption against him.