Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Scams are so vast and so stupefying that for the ‘supremo’ of the ruling BJD and Chief Minister of Orissa Sri Naveen Patnaik, jettisoning a few of his cabinet and party colleagues seems now to be the only available way to escape public wrath.
His stoic silence on the offenses of land loot by his close colleagues and their families, on funds loot by chit fund operators with whom top functionaries of his government do seem to have had deep nexus and to whom his functional support had given necessary boost in public esteem helping them build up their illicit empires, do emphatically suggests that either he has no political wisdom to understand what is going on in his circle or has personal involvement with the crimes that the syndicate under his protection has been carrying out. Either way, his credibility is affected.
He is certainly in a very deep quagmire, as glimpses of what the CBI is eliciting from raided rogues show that the State Crime Branch under his control, instead of bringing the offenders to book, was trying to keep its eyes closed in many matters.
Whosoever has appropriate intelligence to know what is what, is now looking askance at him with such disgust that it would never be a surprise if members of BJD openly revolt against him in order to save their respective public images at least in their constituencies. Come the general elections, sycophancy to Naveen will no more help them win, they are now sure.
To preempt this revolt, Naveen has prepared a road map to dismiss some of his ministers, party colleagues, close aids and not only that, but also to subject them to penal prosecution, while simultaneously trying to please the loudmouths with largesse such as cabinet berths and coveted positions in the party where they may feel elated.
Two of his latest actions give us this indication.
When a senior bureaucrat Debaraj Mishra has been suspended from service yesterday and strict orders for his prosecution has been issued, the Athgarh MLA has been awarded with the position of chief coordinator of BJD for co-operative elections. Last session of the Assembly had witnessed, the Athgarh MLA had raised certain issues that had given his party government a lot of embarrassment. So, the boss of BJD making him the boss of electoral campaign for co-operative societies is of no less significance in the present context.
When the first action is meant to impress the people that the CM is far from compromising with corruption, the second action is meant to impress his party colleagues that he is yet an accommodating leader.
This is as per plan to repair his severely damaged image.
Road map is ready to repair his image through public contact campaigns to start from October 2, wherein members and workers of BJD will march on foot to tell the people about his distinction in dismissing close colleagues on coming to know of their corruption. And, the gullible people, BJD think tank believes, will again fall in Naveen’s trap.
So, most probably, some of the ministers will be dismissed before October 2. Even penal prosecution against a few of them cannot be ruled out, as there is no other way to save the skin of the Chief Minister, when waves of exposure generated by CAG and CBI are too strong to slough over.
Co-operative system is over-saturated with corrupt elements that mostly would form the electorate. So, there may be no difficulty in winning the societies. Naveen will try to show it as continuance of public faith in him. Read with the impact of dismissal and disciplinary action against the tainted ministers and party leaders, the co-operative haul up, if that happens, would give him the revival he is in so dire need of now.
Under the scheme, therefore, dismissal is a must for some of the cabinet members.
In fact, no minister is more precious than the Chief Minister in the parlance of BJD sycophants.