BHUBANESWAR: On Saturday, Odisha MLA Prakash Chandra Behera quit the Congress party and has sent his resignation letter to party President Rahul Gandhi. He represents Cuttack's Salepur constituency. In a setback for the opposition Congress ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha and Odisha Assembly elections, its Salipur MLA Prakash Behera Saturday resigned from the primary membership of the party.
Behera, who has been a Congress member for the past 20 years, said he decided to quit as he was ignored by the state's party leadership. Earlier, three MLAs - Nabakishore Das, Jogesh Singh and Krushna Chandra Sagari, had resigned from the Congress. While Das and Singh joined the BJD, Sagaria went to the BSP. In a letter to Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Behera said that he has decided to quit the party after being "ignored" by the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) leadership.
It is to be noted that Behera, who was for the first time elected from Salipur segment of Cuttack district in 2014, said he has also sent his resignation letter to OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik. Behera told reporters "I worked in the party for last 20 years, but did not get importance in the Congress,".
After this the number of the Congress MLAs in the 147-member Odisha Assembly has come down to 11. Of the 16 Congress MLAs elected in 2014 elections, four have resigned from the party and one Subal Sahu from Bijepur in Baragarh district had passed away. Simultaneous polling will be held in Odisha for its 21 Lok Sabha seats and 147 Assembly constituencies in four phases on April 11, 18, 23 and 29.