Orissa horse-trading: Congress suspends MLA
Bhubaneshwar: The Congress in Orissa was hit by a major controversy on Wednesday, when an audio tape, allegedly containing the voice of state Labour Minister, emerged. The Minister was heard finalising a deal with a Congress MLA for the victory of three BJD candidates in 2010 Rajya Sabha polls.
Acting immediately, the state Congress suspended the ‘accused’ legislator Sibaji Majhi, who is a legislative from Lanjigarh constituency in Kalahandi.
The MLA’s name emerged in the tape played by Kanak TV last week, a local television channel. It purportedly had the voice of Labour Minister Pushpendra Singhdeo.
BJD had won all the three seats in the Rajya Sabha polls after Bhimsen Choudhury (BJP), Sibaji Majhi (Congress) and Gregory Minz (Congress) abstained from voting, paving the way for the election of BJD’s Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, Sashi Bhushan Behera and Baishnab Parida.
While, the BJP had suspended Choudhury on charges of facilitating the BJD candidate`s victory in the polls, Congress could not take any action then due to lack of sufficient evidence against its 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.
Also, PCC`s chief spokesman Prof Kailash Acharya said that the party was contemplating "appropriate" action against Minz too. The party was yet to take action against Minz who too abstained from voting in the RS polls. Claiming innocence, Majhi had said that he could not vote in the RS polls due to illness.
"I was admitted to 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 the resignation of the Chief Minister and two ministers for allegedly engineering the horse-trading in the polls last year.
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