Pradeep Majhi Plays Guessing Game On ‘Quit-Congress’ Plans
Bhubaneswar: Will he? Won’t he? Congress leader Pradeep Majhi on Saturday continued to stoke speculation about whether he would join the Biju Janata Dal (BJD).
“I cannot speculate on the future. Currently I am in the Congress,” he told Odisha Bytes, a day after he along with Congress Working Committee (CWC) member Bhakta Charan Das met Rahul Gandhi at his 12 Tughlaq Lane residence in New Delhi and told mediapersons that there was no question of quitting the Hand party. “I am with the Congress and will remain in the party,” he had said, describing the speculation as a ‘rumour’ which has been doing the rounds since 2017. He even said he had a ‘fruitful’ meeting with Gandhi and added, “A blueprint will soon be prepared to strengthen the party at the national and the state levels.”
However, when asked by Odisha Bytes on Saturday Majhi, currently serving as working president of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee, proved evasive in his response. On September 30, to a query on the possibility of him joining the Naveen Patnaik-led party he had said, “I will consider if I get an offer. There is not much ideological difference in the two parties.”
Sources close to 45-five-year-old Majhi, who represented Nabarangpur Lok Sabha seat from 2009 to 2014 and is a prominent tribal leader of Congress in Odisha, had said he would most likely join the BJD in October.
Political analysts feel Majhi & Co had either set the join-BJD speculation in motion to strike a bargain with the Congress leadership or met Gandhi, with whom he said to have shared a good rapport, as a matter of courtesy before he leaves the grand old party.
Incidentally, Majhi’s father Bhagaban Majhi was a leader of erstwhile Janata Dal (JD) and worked with former Odisha Chief Minister Biju Patnaik after whom BJD is named. BJD was founded in December 1997 months after Biju Patnaik died. Bhagaban had served as a member of Rajya Sabha and also as JD’s Nabarangpur district president.