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‘Bouncers’ guard Congress from Congress

Tension had run high after a dozen student leaders protested outside the Pradesh Congress Committee office in Odisha

By Subhashish Mohanty in Bhubaneswar

  • Published 18.01.20, 3:14 AM
  • Updated 18.01.20, 3:14 AM
File picture of Congress Bhavan
File picture of Congress Bhavan (Twitter/@INCOdisha)

The Odisha Congress leadership was on Friday accused of hiring bouncers to guard the Pradesh Congress Committee office, popularly known as Congress Bhavan, after a protest by some of the party’s youth leaders.

Sources said there were 20 to 30 bouncers at the office.

The Congress leadership denied hiring anyone. “I don’t know of the presence of any bouncers. It’s a big party. They may be the supporters of the Congress party,” OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik told The Telegraph.

Tension had run high after a dozen student leaders led by National Students’ Union of India’s former Odisha convener, Itish Pradhan, arrived to complain against his suspension to AICC general secretary Jitendra Singh. Singh, who is in charge of Odisha affairs, was holding a meeting at Congress Bhavan.

Pradhan, suspended five months ago for anti-party activities, staged a dharna outside with his supporters. They raised slogans calling for Niranjan’s ouster.

Pradhan said: “They engaged some goons to prevent me from entering the Congress Bhavan. They are scared that if the young leaders take over the mantle of the Congress, the future of the sons of senior Congress leaders would be threatened. Niranjan is promoting dynastic politics.”

Nabajyoti, Niranjan’s son, was seen arriving with some men. Asked why he had come with bouncers, he said: “It’s all a lie... I am not scared of anything.”