Orissa: Cong suspends horse-trading tainted MLA

The party`s action came after the release of an audio tape which claimed that two BJD ministers had negotiated with MLA Shibaji Majhi to refrain from voting in the RS polls.

Bhubaneswar: About a year after the Rajya
Sabha elections in Orissa, Congress on Tuesday suspended Lanjigarh
MLA Shibaji Majhi from the party.

The party`s action came barely within a week of
release of an audio tape by a private news channel which
claimed that two BJD ministers had negotiated with Majhi to
refrain from voting in the RS polls.

Majhi was among the three MLAs, two others being
Congress`s Gregory Minz and Bhimsen Choudhury of BJP, who did
not vote in the RS polls. With three opposition MLAs
abstaining from the voting, the ruling BJD`s third candidate
could easily win the polls.

While the BJP had already suspended Choudhury on
charge of facilitating the BJD candidate to win the polls, the
Congress could not take any action due to lack of sufficient
evidence against the two MLAs.

During the RS elections Congress had issued a
three-line whip asking its MLAs to vote for independent
candidate Tara Ranjan Patnaik. However, party MLAs Majhi and
Minz abstained from voting.

"The party took action against Majhi after getting
evidence against him," a statement issued by the PCC said.
Meanwhile, PCC`s chief spokesman Prof Kailash Acharya
said that the party was contemplating "appropriate" action
against Minz too.

However, the party could not take action against Minz
who too abstained from voting in the RS polls.

Claiming innocence, Majhi on his party, had said that
he could not vote in the RS polls due to illness. "I was
admitted at a hospital in Mumbai and later shifted to another
hospital in the city," Majhi said claiming that he had no evil
intention behind remaining absent on the voting day.

Earlier, the party had demanded resignation of the two
ministers for allegedly engineering the horse-trading in the
polls last year.

PTI

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