Bhubaneswar, Jan 17 (PTI) The Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Thursday suspended Sundergarh legislator Jogesh Singh for anti-party activities, a day after its working president Naba Kishore Das resigned from the party.

“Sundergarh MLA Jogesh Singh has been suspended for repeatedly giving statements against the party to the media and tarnishing image of Congress,” OPCC discplinary committee convenor Ananta Sethi said.

Stating that the action has been taken against the Sundergarh MLA with approval of the AICC, Sethi said Singh was served a show-cause notice on Wednesday to reply within 24 hours, but he failed to respond.

Sethi also claimed that the party had expelled Naba Kishore Das from the party before he resigned on Wednesday.

The development comes barely a week before Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s scheduled visit to Odisha on January 25.

Meanwhile, Singh said: “I have not indulged in any anti-party activities as alleged. Is it an anti-party activity to praise the chief minister for his good works?” Citing instances, Singh said many Union Ministers during the UPA regime had openly praised Odisha Chief Minister, but their statements were not considered as anti-party activities.

“Let me make it very clear that Naveen Patnaik is the best chief minister in the country. He has worked for the development of Odisha as well as my constuitency,” Singh told reporters adding he has not received any show cause notice from the party.

Asked about his announcment of not to attend Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s meeting in Bhubaneswar, Singh said: “I have already fixed certain programmes in my constituency.

This apart the marriage of my brother is also fixed on that day. Therefore, it is not possible to attend Gandhi’s programme in the state capital.”

On the possibility of his joining ruling BJD, Singh said that he has not taken any decision in this regard.

“Future will tell what will happen. I cannot predict things.” Singh said since the party has placed him under suspension, he would tender resignation from the membership of the Odisha Legislative Assembly.

Earlier, Das has also announced that he will resign from the membership of the Assembly.

Sing, a two-time Congress MLA was seen sharing dais with Naba Kishore Das at a programme in Kinjirkela in Sundergarh district recently.

OPCC Discplinary Committee chairman Hemananda Biswal said: “Odisha Congress had given Das the opportunity to represent the people in the State Assembly for 10-long years but now his decision to leave the party is not fair. However, his withdrawal from the party will not affect the party organisation in western Odisha.”

Meanwhile, Prakash Behera, another Congress MLA from Salipur in coastal Cuttack district, has also publicly praised the chief minister and his party. However, no action was initiated against him so far, sources said.

“I have already mentioned that BJD is strong in Odisha for last 20 years and the regional party’s position remained same even today,” Behera had said on Wednesday giving an indication that he too was willilng to join the BJD headed by Naveen Patnaik.

In a similar development, dalit Congress leader Krushna Chandra Sagaria, who represented Koraput (SC) constituency in the state assembly, had resigned as an MLA in November last year. Sagaria, however, continues to be in the Congress.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.