Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In the guise of volunteer service, the Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) have become insurmountable mediums of looting public money. Their activities are in presenting projects and executing them in files, not in the fields.

This observation does not come from any official auditor or from any administrative authority that has the experience of granting money to NGOs and watching misutilisation thereof. It comes from an active sentinel of society, Sri Tathagat Satapathy, who besides being a member of Indian Parliament marked for appropriate participation in debates, edits and brings out Orissa�s fearless and speaking daily The Dharitri.

Let me first tell you a few lines on Tathagat.

About 15 months ago, I had written a letter to one thousand persons that are my personal relatives and friends, well acquainted with my political past and present prejudices. They love me deeply and know every aspect of my life.

And therefore they know that in my perception, whosoever is not for communism is for commissionism, through which capitalism strengthens its grip on national economy.

My close circle being well acquainted with this perception of mine, I had the hope that while answering they shall not forget to keep my perception in mind. But none of them gave any glimpse of my perception having influenced his or her answer. Therefore their answers were unprejudiced, unbiased, and honest. Now, therefore, I will tell you of it.

I had asked them to suggest four persons from amongst politicians of Orissa in whom they can visualize a future Chief Minister.

I had made it clear that Orissa is languishing in the labyrinth of leaderless politics and therefore a future leader is to be located.

I had made it clear that all the political parties have failed and betrayed the people and therefore, as political parties they are looked at so askance that the country has been left to experience unending chaos under coalition of political parties representing rival geo-politico-economic interests for decades.

Situation is so precarious that till people, most of them belonging to the working class, elect the working class political ism to shape the Country, no political party could be acceptable. This is why people are seen relying upon individuals.

The active wing of Indian National Congress transforming into Indira Congress; and later, the Janata Dal that had grabbed power as the first non-congress Government in India, getting drifted into the state of being identified by the name of Chandrasekhar; regional outfits usurping power in the name of Annadurai or Biju Patnaik, and degradation of democracy to the supremo-syndrome that mocks at our motherland through people like Bal Thakre and Navin Patnaik, cannot but be the result of political parties� forfeiture of credibility as a whole.

As I have said, till people elect the working class ism to shape the Country, no political party can command confidence.

Against this backdrop, I had informed my relatives and friends that Orissa�s position is more precarious.

No body from amongst the past and present Chief Ministers of Orissa is any more acceptable.

The High Command syndrome in Congress is not congenial to emergence of any leader in that party as a sure future CM.

The BJP is so much infested with vested interest stooges of private capital that none of it can be trusted by the people for the top post.

The capitalists having pushed the electoral system into the dark height of exorbitant expenditure, with right-wing media in their pockets and religious revivalists at their beck and call, the Communists, far from proper publicity, cannot catch votes, most of the voters being uninformed and misinformed and in inanition.

The BJD being boss-centric sans any ideology, cannot dare to think of any alternative to Navin.

Hence no political party in Orissa can offer future leadership as a collective body.

This means, we have to pick up individuals from amongst us, irrespective of creed, whom as a nation we should groom as possible CM. Otherwise, the State, already in chaos, would rush into a vacuum of leadership. In fact, this vacuum has already been discernible. Taking advantage of this vacuum, the non-Oriya industrialists and traders are rushing for our land. Unless, reversed, the Oriya race, to quote Gandhiji, �this fine race�
(Young India, 18 Feb.1920), would forfeit its own identity.

Narrating this, I had requested my well informed relatives and friends to suggest four persons on the basis of their individual leadership qualities and concern for the people who could be groomed as future CMs. To facilitate their choice I had, on the basis of my experience as a political watcher and analyst over and above my past experience in applied politics, I had zoomed into ten names and asked them to pick up four names out of those ten and also , if any, beyond these ten. All of them agreed that the ten names I had advanced were exhaustive. Therefore they suggested four persons out of the list of ten I had advanced. I found Tathagat was one amongst these selected four. I have discussed this with many people who have had discussions with me.

It was my private query and the answers of my relatives and close friends shall remain in my private domain till I am convinced that their choices were not without justification. And I have put my alert eyes on all four of them including Tathagat since then.

As a parliamentarian Tathagat has made a mark. He has established that he is not a minion in the machine of power politics. He has given enough evidence of his capability of thinking independently, individually and with foresight and conviction. As for example, I watched his participation in the debate over reservation of seats for the women. His argument was ethical. And, clearly so. When there is no bar at all on women contesting elections, reservation of seats for them would pave a permanent way to looking at them as inferior, he maintained. This is just an instance.

His other side being media, as Editor of Dharitri, he has also made a mark. I have watched him going against the tides in pursuit of facts, even to the extent of facing judicial trials.

Therefore, I have quoted him to begin this page.

What he has said is worth noting. The NGOs, he has observed, are hand-in-glove with corrupt officials in looting public money citing restoration of blacklisted NGOs to panels for execution of developmental projects as a pointer.

In this timely editorial, he has come down sharply on the Government decision to hand over as many as 60 Primary Health Centers and 120 Health Sub-Centers to the NGOs.

When private clinics and hospitals stand synonymous to patient exploitation to the extent of denying dead bodies to families of the deceased ones, unless sumptuously paid for the co-called service they claim to have rendered; and to dishonesty, to the extent of tampering with evidence as seen in Rahul Mahajan�s drug offence case by the famous Apolo hospital; how come the Government decides to hand over government hospitals to NGOs, the segment marked more for scheming for benefit of own office-bearers than for benefit of the people, he has questioned.

So this question has not been raised by any uninformed citizen, unfamiliar with what is happening.

The wisdom of the Governments, both at the Central and the State Level, has been questioned by a thinking mind in which alert people of Orissa have found a person, who, given the requisite support can lead them; and who, as a Parliamentarian and as a Mainstream Editor has given enough evidence of right thinking.

I recommend Dharitri editorial of January 29 to every body.

All attempts to privatize health services must be objected to and rejected.

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