Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
The ruling BJD in Orissa is taking a bizarre turn. If its supremo Naveen Patnaik does not dismiss Pyari Mohan Mohapatra from the party, then there is every possibility of the latter replacing him as the CM.
Members of BJD are deeply disillusioned with Sri Patnaik.
In his first two terms, they were not very vociferous about his maladministration, because he was heading a coalition with BJP. But, during the last two years of his third term, more and more members of its legislative wing have stripped his government layer by layer in the legislative Assembly. The recent cabinet reshuffle is being seen as a step taken in nervous reaction to this disillusionment.
In the past, Patnaik had used the tactics of toleration if that was helpful in retention of his position. Samir De was an instance. It seems, he has been using the same tactics as regards Pyari babu.
He has, to save his own skin, used many times the tactics of jettison from his cabinet as and when headlines have focused on felonies carried out in his rule. Kalandi Behera and Pramila Mallik are instances.
He is also known for using the tactics of termination from party to preempt any threat to his leadership. Bijay Mohapatra is an instance.
He is now using tactics of induction to tame the loudmouths. Induction of Pradip Maharathy to the cabinet in recent reshuffle is an instance.
But despite all these tactics, threat to his position has not subsided.
As more and more instances of corruption come to light by way of media expositions, audit objections and judicial determinations, his credibility is plunging down sans any chance of revival and majority of the members of his party is getting discernibly disillusioned.
In such a situation Naveen has only one option.
As most of the people in Orissa believe that Naveen’s administration runs according to instructions of the de facto CM Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, he can openly admit his failure, attribute the failure to his innocence and belief in the ‘Uncle’, as Pyari babu is generally known in his context.
Instead of tactics of toleration, he can use tactics of termination and oust Pyari babu from BJD, holding him responsible for the entire gamut of maladministration. In that case, he can regain his lost credibility by hoodwinking the people and further consolidate his position by instituting a commission of inquiry against him to determine how far has he corrupted administration by misuse of his position.
He knows, fellows belonging to the category of Dr. Damodar Raut, whom Pyari babu is a fifth columnist, will forget their insult and rush back to rally behind him to ensure that he does not face any debacle.
He had used tactics of termination from the party against its founding leader Bijaya Mohapatra and can use the same tactics against Pyari babu, as without such a shock effect, ways for restoration of his credibility will not open in emerging situations. As is his wont, this is not impossible. And, perhaps this is the only option available to him.
But, if he fails to do so, what will happen?
BJD cannot bag a fresh mandate.
Therefore, it would be imperative for the majority in BJD to revolt against Naveen and to replace him with Pyari babu.
In fact, if BJD is to continue in power, it can be possible only through such a step.
Had Pyari babu not engineered the collapse of its coalition with BJP and rejuvenated it by enkindling hope in BJD aspirants that were being left out under compulsion of coalition, the party, already tainted by then on many counts, could not even have faced the public in the 2009 hustings.
It is Pyari babu, who alone instigated the BJD to cut off the alliance with BJP and to put up candidates in all the constituencies that were left in the BJP fold and it is he who most aggressively had conducted its campaign both against the BJP and the Congress.
When the suddenly deserted BJP was at its wits’ end, the next major political party – the Indian National Congress, with a new President hailing from a tyrant family that during kingship had tortured its subjects beyond comparison in the history of inhumanity, was not in a position to challenge.
Astute Pyari had studied the situation and had audaciously drawn up his strategy and carried his party to the monumental success that he alone had visualized.
If he has really stymied POSCO by secretly siding with the Communists, as alleged by Dr, Damodar Raut after his ouster as a minister, then it can be said without any travesty of truth, that for the BJD in its present condition, he is the only available panacea. This party is not based on any political economy. Its only base was regionalism, which Naveen has ruined by putting indigenous people in mare’s nest in his act of serving the interest of the agents, proponents and practitioners of imperialism. So, there is no reason for the people to support this government again.
Only a change in leadership can save the ship of BJD from sinking.
If members of BJD are in a political party, they are there because of their ambitions for power and avarice for lucre.
That matters, not Naveen.
Hence, if, taking advantage of his present position, Naveen does not dismiss Pyari babu on grounds he himself can contrive or on the ground of allegation of stymieing POSCO as raised by Dr.Raut, then the BJD members, who, to feel safe to play the game of aggrandizement, need a covering canopy over their head, will replace him with Pyari babu.
If this does not happen, next election may bring in worse fellows to power in Orissa, but not the BJD.