Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Ajit K. Tripathy is a retired IAS officer and like most of the retired IAS officers of Orissa, has obtained a post-retirement position as the State’s Election Commissioner. He is suspected, therefore, to stay obliged to the Chief Minister and his party for the benefit.

This is perhaps the reason he did not object to contravention of the election code through political use of the official podium of the 99th session of Indian Science Congress as discussed in these pages.

The mischief of the ruling party is that it is named after Biju Patnaik. Almost all official/welfare programs, public parks, institutions and utilities are prefixed with the name of Biju in Naveen Patnaik regime. In every nook and corner of the State Biju statues are erected in public places by ruling party members, factotums and government agencies.

The voters are dazzled by the legends cooked up and woven into these emblems of Biju propaganda. And, thus, the Panchayat elections are going to be severely prejudiced against candidates opposed to BJD as the Biju spangled environment is bound to mislead voters’ democratic wisdom.

The Election Commission of India has banned public display of elephant statues in Uttar Pradesh as elephant is the symbol of BSP in power there. The BSP government that challenged the EC orders in the Judicial forum has failed and thereby the EC reading of political impact of elephant statues on voters has been proven correct.

As most of official welfare programs are named after Biju in Orissa when the ruling party seeking votes in the Panchayat elections is also named after Biju, it is likely that the voters shall be dazzled by the blitzkrieg of official use of his name carrying only one meaning that is political.

So, it it imperative for the State Election Commissioner to ban all the official programs named after Biju and to ban public display of biju statues through out the State to save voters’ wisdom from prejudice and to ensure fair and proper election.

Whether a retired officer obliged by the political government with post-retirement appointment in the most lucrative post of State Election Commissioner can act impartially or not will be known in this election.

Sri Tripathy is in a position to strengthen or sabotage democracy in the grassroots.

Let us wait and watch, what does he do.