Bhubaneswar/New Delhi: Leader of the Opposition in Odisha Bhupinder Singh along with legislature party secretary Anup Sai resigned from the Congress on Saturday sending shockwaves in political circles in the state.
Shortly afterwards, AICC General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi said in Delhi that three time MLA Surendra Singh Bhoi has been made Leader of Congress Legislature Party in Odisha.
His name was approved by party chief Sonia Gandhi and the appointment has been made with immediate effect, he said.
Singh in his resignation letter to Sonia Gandhi said, "The state unit of the party is not functioning as it should. It should be above caste politics.
"The state leadership keeps Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in dark," he said.
Apparently referring to Union Minister Srikant Jena and OPCC President Jaydev Jena, Singh wrote, "Party cannot function at the whims of two or three individuals many of whom do not subscribe to party ideology."
Asked who he blamed for the prevailing situation in Congress, Singh said "One of them is Srikant Jena."
Singh revealed that he was told by the party`s state leadership to resign from the post of Leader of Opposition after the end of the last session of the Assembly.
"I was told that a dalit has been OPCC president and the leader of opposition should be from tribal community. I asked them what is the point to make a tribal leader of opposition when there is no session of Assembly," Singh said.
Meanwhile, BJD supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik welcomed Singh and Sai into his party.
"I am delighted that Singh, leader of opposition, Sai, MLA from Brajrajnagar and young leader from Kalahandi Ranjit Singh have joined BJD," Patnaik said.
Asked how he could accept Naveen Patnaik as his leader after alleging he was corrupt and an autocrat some days ago in the Assembly, Singh said he was then performing his duty as a leader of Opposition in the House.
"Anyway, calling a man corrupt does not mean anything until allegations are proved," he said.
Anup Sai said, "I have joined BJD in order to ensure development of my constituency. There is no democracy in the state Congress."
OPCC president Jaydev Jena said Singh`s resignation would have no impact on the electoral prospects of the party.
Union Minister Srikant Jena spoke in a similar vein. "Singh`s resignation will not damage the party. Rather he will suffer damage."
The BJD has claimed that "mass exodus" of senior leaders from the state`s main opposition party was likely to continue.
Congress is in the Opposition in Odisha for the last 15 years since BJD led by Naveen Patnaik ousted it from power.
Assembly polls in the state are being held along with the Lok Sabha elections.