Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
The Chief Minister was noticed to answer. He did not. On his behalf Urban Minister K.V.Singhdeo replied. In the floor of the Assembly, which always is ravished by the magic of majority, the reply of Singhdeo might have given the CM the relief he must have desired.
But can the CM go into the midst of the cultivators of Orissa and tell them that what his agent has told the Assembly on February 13?
No, he can never. If he dares, there shall be no rampart of privilege like the Assembly to protect him from the wrath of farmers that are distress selling their paddy.
Distress sale of paddy was the crux of adjournment motion noticed by the Opposition. Initiating the debate, Arun De made categorical mention of how farmers of Balasore district, even of other districts like Bhadrak, are being compelled to distress sale their paddy for five to six hundred rupees a quintal as against official rate of Rs.850. He estimated the annual loss of farmers of his district to be no less than Rs.75 crore. This loss to farmers is direct gain to millers who share the loot with government functionaries in the food supply department, he alleged.
Netranand Mallik, Nalinikant Mohanty, Padmalochan Panda and Anant Sethi, who placed the share of the loot that goes to the functionaries at Rs.58 crore, supplemented him.
Treasury bench members Niranjan Pujari, Brundavan Majhi, Pradip Maharathi and B.B.Harichandan linked the problem to failure of the Food Corporation of India in procuring paddy from the farmers.
Even as the Minister was hinting at how the FCI has neglected paddy procurement, the Opposition wanted to know as to whose responsibility it is to eliminate the environment of distress sale. And, Singhdeo, acting as agent of the Chief Minister in answering the debate, thundered that there is no distress sale of paddy by farmers at all.
The Chief Minister as well as his agent is in advantage because the parting Assembly has no time to act on such foul play of falsehood. But if he dares to repeat this statement before the general public at the time of election, BJD will disown him or will be thrashed into doom, no doubt.
I am sure, Navin will never tell the people what his agent has told the House.