Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Five of the ruling party sycophants, preening in power till Thursday, do no more appear to their sub-sycophants as political stars. They are unceremoniously dropped from the cabinet. So much upset are they by being divested of red-light cars, that, none of them could gather the courage of coming to the Governor House in their private vehicles to witness the induction of nine of their colleagues into the ministry, which could have been an instance of unruffled political curtesy expected of persons fitted into protocols as ex-ministers.
These fellows are: Prafulla Ghadei, Prafulla Samal, Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak, Pratap Jena and Puspendra Singhdeo.
The inducted fellows are Kalpataru Das, Damodar Raut, Bijayashree Rautray, Pratap Keshari Dev, Subrat Tarai, Rajanikant Singh, Sarojini Hembram, Arun Kumar Sahu and Rabinarayan Nanda.
Some of these fellows were earlier dismissed from Naveen Patnaik’s cabinet on charges of corruption, on discernible incompetency, and on over-indulgence in self-projection; whereas one of them is a person, who has shown, how having committed a murder, one can escape the dragnets of law by using the tactics of silencing prosecution.
Relevant is not who is jettisoned, who is inducted.
Relevant is the role of “supremo syndrome” in reshuffle of cabinets.
Whoever has been jettisoned has no hesitation in saying that by complying the Chief Minister’s instructions to resign, he has only honored the order of the supremo.
Whoever has been inducted into the cabinet is attributing the lift to his/her loyalty to the supremo.
This supremo-syndrome is killing democracy. The party to which people have given the mandate is being relegated to irrelevance. On the other hand, ministers in the cabinet are being kept intimidated under constant fear of getting jettisoned, in case any of their action creates any suspicion in the mind of the supremo in matter of personal loyalty.
In such a situation, ‘collective wisdom’ of the cabinet in managing the affairs of the State is getting lost. Autocracy is engulfing democracy under the attire of democracy.
Because of willfully wrong interpretation of constitutional provisions about the prime-ministerial or chief-ministerial role in formation of ministries as personal prerogative of the PM or the CM, the supremo syndrome has taken birth and has divested democracy of consensus politics.
To defeat this danger, the so-called prerogative of the PM or CM in selecting and jettisoning the ministers needs be curbed and constitution of cabinets needs be vested in collective wisdom of the political party, which gets mandate of the people. Till then, the ministers can be viewed as mere sycophants of an individual, and nothing else. Hence there is nothing to rejoice over the reshuffle in Orissa.
It must be kept in mind that supremo concept and democracy are diametrically opposed to each other and can never go together.