BHUBANESWAR: It all started with three heads rolling. The then ministers Kamala Das, Nalini Mohanty and Prasanta Nanda had to resign on graft charges which were never proved.
Then came the peanut scandal which saw the exit of the then minister of state for Agriculture Amar Prasad Satpathy. In fact, Satpathy could not stay in the ruling BJD after denial of party ticket in the 2009 Assembly election. Later he switched loyalties to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and became a law-maker.
It was purely a trust-deficit for which the then minister of state for Health and Family Welfare Debi Mishra had to quit. However, luck smiled on him and he is back in the good books of party supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. He has never looked back since then. At present, Mishra is the Minister of Forest and Environment.
Altogether, six ministers, including Rama Krushna Patnaik, were shown the door by Naveen in his first stint as Chief Minister from 2000 to 2004. However, the case of Rama Krushna was different. He resigned when his portfolio was changed from plum Finance to less-attractive Agriculture.
Naveen’s BJD swept the election in alliance with the BJP in 2000 and the alliance continued till 2009 when he ‘divorced’ the saffron party before going to the hustings the same year.
The second term of the BJD-BJP coalition Government led by Naveen saw exit of 14 ministers. While Rabinarayan Nanda had to quit for his alleged links with liquor mafia from Madhya Pradesh, the Ganjam hooch tragedy proved costly for the then Excise minister Kalindi Behera.
In a surprise move, the Chief Minister dropped four ministers __ the then Panchayati Raj minister Damodar Rout, Health and Family Welfare minister Bijayshree Routray, minister of state for School and Mass Education Nagendra Pradhan and Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes Development minister Balabhadra Majhi in May 2006.
Though Bishnu Das was among the six new faces inducted into the Cabinet, he had to resign two years later after the alleged tampering of marksheet of his son came to light. The then Steel and Mines minister Padmanabha Behera was sacrificed for the Kandhamal riots.
More were to follow. Once a confidant of Naveen __ Debasis Nayak __ and then speaker Maheswar Mohanty had to quit after a controversy broke out over the allegations of a former woman marshal of the Assembly. BJP minister Manmohan Samal resigned over the Orissa Nivas incident which was again linked to a woman. Another BJP minister Samir Dey put in his papers after the Chief Minister lost confidence in him.
Two ministers __ Pramila Mallick and Pradipta Naik __ had to quit in Naveen’s second stint. The dal scam was too hot for Pramila to handle and she had to quit last year. Ironically, Damodar is the only minister who was dropped twice ‘without any reason’ as he put it.
Pradip Maharathy is the latest on whom axe fell. He quit for reasons similar to that of Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha __charge of sheltering rape accused. Earlier, Praveen Bhanjadeo got the pink slip for non-performance.