Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Electronic media major ETV is busy in playing a trick in Orissa, which, if everything goes clockwise, may help Naveen Patnaik repair his credibility.

Patnaik’s credibility as Chief Minister has suffered a set back in a media forum that was earlier showing him in high level of rating. To many amongst the State’s media watchers, profuse flow of advertisements from Orissa’s power corridors to this periodical was matching with the rise of Naveen in the rating chart. But the position has changed a few months ago. Patnaik’s rank has declined.

Following the decline in media rating, Patnaik’s ability to retain his so-called clean image has also declined in public eyes. His eagerness to denude Orissa of her mineral wealth, his nonchalant attitude to sufferings of the displaced, his devastative dependence on sycophants in BJD and in bureaucracy, his failure to deliver benefits of the welfare projects to the rural poor, his failure to reduce the burden of unemployment, his inability to answer the questions posed by the Opposition, his lack of respect for Oriya language, his failure to protect Orissa borders, his reluctance to learn Oriya dialect, his deliberate distance from Oriya nationalism and the cruelty his government has shown for the tribal proletariats of Orissa are factors of further decline of his credibility. He is so demoralized that he has no courage to visit the victims of plutocratic assault at Kalinga Nagar although around a hundred days have elapsed since the massacre. So, he desperately needs to repair his credibility. How otherwise can he stay in power?

Who other than the media can help him?

Who can help him better than a powerful TV channel?

Hence the ETV programme designed to project a person as the most credible amongst the Oriyas (PRIYA ORIYA) attracts attention. It has now bracketed five persons as persons allegedly elected by the general public of Orissa out of which it is going to conduct a poll through SMS to find out who is the most credible person in Orissa. In this list of five final round credible persons, besides Naveen Pattanayak, four other names figure. They are Dillip Tirkey, Manoj Das, Nandita Das and Buddhia Singh. Do all these four persons know that each of them is in a contest against the Chief Minister of the State on the question of credibility? Excepting Buddhia Singh, none of these four persons is a regular resident of Orissa. Nandita, an actress, stays outside Orissa. Dillip, the Hockey player, find seldom time to stay in Orissa. Monoj Das resides at Pondichery. So, to expect any of them to challenge the Chief Minister in the credibility contest within the limits of Orissa would be bizarre. The only one left is Buddhia Singh.

Buddhia Singh is yet to be 5.

Son of a wretchedly poor mother residing in a Bhubaneswar slum, when in desperate search for food for instant survival, his perseverance caught attention of Mr. Biranchi Das, Secretary of Orissa Judo Association, who, seeing in him the qualities of hitting at a target, took the child to his fold and lunched him into the world of sports as the youngest marathon runner our society has ever come across.

Excepting this, Buddhia is disadvantaged in every other aspect. He has no money, no man-power. The State Government has put many an obstacles on his way. Even it has not hesitated to instruct the Collectors and S.P.s of all the Districts to disallow Buddhia to take part in any marathon run as and when that takes place in any place under their respective jurisdiction. A member of Naveen’s cabinet has raised obnoxious allegations against Das for having lunched him in marathon races, which, aimed understandably at demoralizing him, has led the issue into court of law.

Buddhia Singh is yet to be 5.

He has no education to understand the meaning of ETV agenda.

He has no experience of any such contest.

He has no knowledge to comprehend for what purpose the contest is contemplated.

He has no scope to organize support through SMS.

He has no need to establish his credibility vis-a-vis the Chief Minister.

In fact, none of the so-called contestants has given his or her consent to contest. A list of persons fit for the contest was arbitrarily drawn out of which the current list of five has been generated through managed polls sans any legal sanction.

None of the four projected by ETV as contestants against the Chief Minister stand on a level ground vis-a-vis him.

What would be the final outcome? One of the five shall be declared by ETV as the best amongst the Oriyas, the most beloved (PRIYA) person.

Has the race of the Oriyas, as a body, asked or allowed ETV to conduct such a selection?

How dare it is doing this?

Its activities, considered in the context of Naveen Patnaik’s necessity to repair his credibility, look like tricks.

It looks like an instance of how mediacracy can make its design work against people who fail to remain eternally vigilant.

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