MARCH 5 EXPOSES A PHENOMENON AND POSES A FEW QUESTIONS

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

March 5 has again shown that Orissa Chief Minister Navin Patnaik may be strong in the Assembly, but politically he is quite weak.

A strong man is known by his own name; but Navin is known by his father’s name. It is curious that his colleagues and acolytes are identifying themselves not as followers of Navin, but as followers of Biju, his father. March 5 has made it clear.

Navin has become the CM not by virtue of any sacrifice he has made for Orissa, but by shrewd exploitation of posthumous pardon granted to his father by the people of Orissa.

As shown in these pages on basis of facts, Biju was a shrewd man who on grabbing power was drowning Orissa in corruption so deeply that people of the State were refusing him mandate for several subsequent terms. This is why he was forced to stay out of Orissa administration for long 27 years from October 1963 to March 1090 and after end of the 2nd term in March 1995, he was again refused mandate leading to his death sans power in 1997.

A pack of political black-sheep who were with Biju Patnaik, after his demise, as magnanimous people of Orissa granting him posthumous pardon a wave of sympathy for his bereaved family surged, contrived a new platform that they named after Biju and thus came Biju Janata Dal into existence, which eventually transformed the sympathy wave into ballots by using Navin as the mask and occupied power under the cover of coalition politics that discredited politicians of every hue had by then spread over India.

That the founders of BJD were practitioners of corruption is proved by the very fact that most of them have been simply dismissed from the party by Navin on charges of corruption. And such dismissal of colleagues was so abrupt and autocratic that the media has come to call him as the supremo of BJD.

But despite being the supremo of a party that has occupied Orissa and has the brutal strength in the stadium of number game in applied politics, he is politically weak. Otherwise, he should have by this time come out of the cocoon of his father’s name and shown that he has gained strength to stay in leadership on his own merit.

March 5 has shown that he has the feeling that if his father’s name is not spread it would be impossible for him to stay in power.

Ministers and MPs, MLAs and functionaries were to utter like pet parrots the set words that Biju’s dreams to come true needs Navin on the steering. Projects funded by state exchequer were named after Biju, by whose name BJD is in power. This was nothing but misuse of public funds for political gain of the ruling party. Official power was misused to commission Biju statue(s) in public places. The public places belonging also to people who opposed Biju when he was alive is nothing but mafianisation of administration. Offices were closed and officers were forced to organize marathons and official events in memory of Biju. Announcements were made to pump more funds from the public exchequer into projects named after Biju and administration was forced to whisk in Panchayat functionaries from all parts of Orissa irrespective of party affiliation in the name of Panchayatiraj day for their brainwashing to accept the idea that they are there because of Biju’s contribution to Panchayatiraj, even though in reality, when Biju was in first term of office, Panchayats were made so corrupt that the three-tire system born out of recommendations of Kairon Committee, in which Biju was an accidental member, had to be given a premature death and in the last term of his office, Panchayats were superseded with elections thereto postponed time and again.

How long this farce should continue? How long the imprudent act of naming and funding of official projects and functions in the name of Biju by the government run by his son heading a party run under his name is tolerated? How far misuse of the State Exchequer by a Chief Minister for his personal political gain should be allowed to stay beyond scrutiny? Should it not be proper for patriots to take stock of damage done by this to democracy?

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