New Delhi: Congress on Tuesday expelled former MP Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, son-in-law of former Odisha Chief Minister JB Patnaik, sending out a tough message to party leaders in the faction-ridden state unit ahead of Assembly and Lok Sabha polls.
Soumya Ranjan has been expelled from the primary membership of the party for six years, AICC general secretary BK Hariprasad announced.
He said the former MP was penalised for being engaged in "gross indiscipline" and organising parallel meetings ignoring the PCC.
The expelled leader is also the younger brother of former PCC chief Niranjan Patnaik, who was replaced some months back by Jayadev Jena. JB Patnaik is currently the Assam Governor.
Soumya Ranjan was earlier issued a notice regarding his activities by the PCC disciplinary committee, which had subsequently recommended action against him.
But even as PCC was awaiting AICC`s response on its report, Patnaik resumed his Sankalp Samabesh in the Assembly constituency of Khandapada in Nayagarh district after having maintained a low-profile for some time following the disciplinary notice.
He joined the Nayagarh rally saying he had been invited by local party workers.
The action, which can be called a major one, has come amid party Vice-President Rahul Gandhi`s emphasis on party workers maintaining discipline in their rank and file to put up a united face ahead of elections.
In his last few meetings with state leaders, Gandhi did some plainspeaking, making it clear that he will not tolerate indiscipline and factionalism within the party.
"The disciplinary committee of the PCC had recommended expulsion. We concurred with that," Hariprasad said.
Congress has been out of power in Odisha for the last 13 years.