Odisha: Hema Gamang’s potential return to Congress raises eyebrows among party leaders
Former Congress MP Hema Gamang

Former Congress MP Hema Gamang’s likely return to the party has been met with resistance from its current crop of leaders, who on Wednesday said she should not expect to be anointed into any influential post or a ticket for the upcoming elections.

Gamang, who is also the wife of former Congress CM Giridhar Gamang, is an influential political figure from southern Odisha. She had left the Congress to join BJD in 2014 and later quit the party last year. Her husband is currently with the BJP.

“If she wants to join Congress, dictatorial (tendencies) will not work. Nobody should be prevented from joining Congress, but one should not immediately expect to become an MP or MLA”, Congress leader Tara Prasad Bahinipati said Wednesday, on Gamang’s previous statement that was she contemplating a return to the Congress.

On Tuesday, Hema Gamang had said in an interview to regional press that she had come to Delhi to “mingle” with senior Congress leaders because she was “once part of the Congress family”. When questioned whether she will be rejoining the party, she said, “I have left it to the Congress high command”.

“It (her return) will be bad optics for us. She had herself deserted Congress for BJD. (Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee President) Niranjan Patnaik can induct her, but should not give her a ticket. Let her prove her loyalty be helping Congress in Koraput and among tribal voters”, another Congress leader said, requesting anonymity.

Hema Gamang had also expressed displeasure over BJD. “It is just a regional party. It does not want to cultivate or make room for leaders. Naveen Patnaik remains aloof and runs everything through bureaucrats. It is difficult to remain with that party”.