Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It is profusely reported in print media that a pack of Orissa Ministers have received gifts from Sathya Sai baba at his headquarters at Puttaparthi while canvassing the charmer for establishing a hospital on behalf of his organization at Bhubaneswar.

The pack comprising 9 ministers of Navin Patnaik�s cabinet was membered also by their wives and children as well as selected MPs and MLAs with their respective spouses.

As they claim, they were deputed by the Chief Minister with a written request for establishment of the Hospital.

Sai reportedly has not opened his lips in the matter and dispurshed them with gifts of gold rings.

If anything, this is a baffling scenario. It indicates to what extent the government of Orissa is confused.

A Chief Minister, if his ministers are telling the truth, allowed himself to be a party to propaganda of a person who personifies religious revivalism when the Constitution of India entails upon administrative authorities to discourage steps in this regards. If he has deliberately done this then it is an offense against the Constitution and if he has not done it deliberately then it is clear that he is functioning under dictates of others sans application of his mind.

If the CM, howsoever misconceivedly, preferred to seek from Sathya Sai funds for a Hospital, he could have sent a single minister or a single officer with the letter for the purpose. Instead of that how such a huge group of Ministers accompanied by their respective families could be deputed?

Now as the matter has been exposed, it is possible that the concerned ministers shall not claim TA and DA for the outside of State tour. On watching their treasury bills it may be ascertained. But how can it be explained that for around a week, several departments including Finance of the State administration were rendered rudderless due to their absence when their presence was essential for preparation of the supplementary Budget as well as preparation of government version for the arriving session of the Assembly?

On the other hand what these fellows did at Puttaparthy? They prostrated before Sathya Sai. He may be a Bhagawan to any number of poliical animals getting their salutations. But, these fellows from Orissa, as long as they are Ministers, are not mere political animals. They are authorities of Orissa under the Constitution. Sathya Sai is not a superior authority under our Constitution. So, by prostrating before Sathya Sai, these Ministers have made our Constitutional Authorities prostrate before an extra-constitutional entity.

What more sacrilegious treat our Constitution could have received from a government?

Chief Minister Navin Patnaik and all the fellow of the Cabinet who have committed this sacrilege owe an explanation to our country.

As far as the Hospital is concerned, I am given to understand that Sai organization wants not to be left behind in land grabbing. Ravi Shankars et al having grabbed land, why should Satya Sai be left behind? In the guise of Hospital, they need 1000 Acres of land in a patch. And, they have organized for this purpose the drama of Chief Minister sending the Ministers� team with the so-called request.

So in the issue of Sathya Sai Hospital, needle of suspicion points to the otherside of land grabbing.

The developments should be watched dispassionately.

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