BHUBANESWAR: In a rare display of warmth, Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan today praised Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for his philosophy of simple living and lesser attachment to materialistic things.
"I do not hesitate to admit in an open forum that Naveen babu is a role model in the national politics for his plain living and non-attachment for materialism. I am proud of it and inspired too," Pradhan said at the Odisha Literary Festival (OLF) here.
In an interactive session with Editorial Director of the New Indian Express Prabhu Chawla after inaugurating the fifth edition of the OLF, the Union Minister said this trait in the Chief Minister is
quintessentially an Odia character.
The other good quality of Naveen babu, Pradhan said, is his ability to derive satisfaction from other people's happiness and success.
Asked persistently what he dislikes about the Chief Minister, Pradhan said the Naveen's overconfidence that nothing will dent his popularity even after episodes like Dana Majhi which grabbed international attention hurts him.
"Very few political leaders in the country have the rare fortune of receiving such a huge mandate for such a long time like Naveen Babu has. But to sit assured that nothing will happen to him despite not
delivering the goods leaves me baffled," he added.
Dubbing Naveen's regime insensitive and incompetent, the Union Minister said what pains him most as an Odia is the fact that his government has failed to provide basic amenities like ambulance service to the families of the dead even after 17 years in power.
He said the Chief Minister who has so far enjoyed such massive trust of the public has not only disappointed but also cheated the people of the State.
Drawing a parallel to the CPM regime in West Bengal, Pradhan said it is this mentality of the Leftists which led to their doom and could be repeated in 2019 elections in the State.
Pradhan parried several questions on the lack of visibility of BJP in Odisha as well as the State in the national politics despite the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Look East Policy."
Asked if he is being projected as the Chief Ministerial candidate of his party for Odisha, Pradhan replied in the negative.
Earlier inaugurating the OLF, the Union Minister lauded the effort of TNIE in hosting the literary festival in the State and reviving the Odisha's literary culture in the face of the onslaught of English literature.
Resident Editor, TNIE, Odisha Srimoy Kar delivered the introductory speech.