Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
If Man Mohan Singh government in the center could at all be marked for having done any good to democracy, choice of Orissa’s former Chief Minister J.B.Pattanaik for posting as a Governor should form the reason.
JB joined power politics from the podium of journalism. Orissa’s history of journalism cannot be written without dedicating sufficient space to JB. As a mainstream editor he had given journalism the edge to make administration answerable to the people. His contribution to journalism as editor of Prajatantra for 15 years and editor of The Eastern Times for around 14 years were so unique that when he relinquished them, both the papers suffered irrecoverable decline despite all out attempts of an excellent fund raiser like Dr. Harekrishna Mahtab and an illustrious editor like Sriharsha Mishra where as, the Paurusha, a monthly Oriya digest that he started became an instant household name in Orissa.
It is not to be ignored that before adopting journalism as avocation, JB had taken Congress as a mission. He was elected to head the State Youth Congress in 1950 when elections were based on devotion to people at the bottom rather than to a person at the top. So, after decades long role as an editor, when he joined parliamentary politics under the Congress umbrage, that was just a toggling into one from the other constituent of the twin forums of service to people – Press and Politics- available to social activists beyond the boundary of service codes and earned salaries from the State exchequer.
In politics, he has served India as Union Minister in two terms and Orissa as Chief Minister thrice over and above having served his home State as Leader of Opposition and PCC President. The Congress Working Committee has benefited from his participation for decades and he is marked to have influenced thinking process of many a Prime Ministers.
But politics has not detracted him from pursuit of letters.
It is proper that he is preferred for the Governorship of Assam, the State where letters form the crux of pride of the nation.