Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik seems to be hit by a sudden urgency to deliver on the promises made during the polls last year and those in the previous ones. He has issued stiff targets to all government wings concerned. The panchayati raj department has been tasked with constructing 2.35 lakh pucca houses under the Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana by March, though only one lakh houses have been started as of November 2014. The water resources department has been handed a target of bringing additional 1.2 lakh hectares under irrigation coverage by the end of 2014-15. The haste to get works done is being seen as a step to salvage the image of the CM and his party, which has taken a beating in the last six months.
After winning a historic mandate and sweeping to power for the fourth consecutive term in May, Patnaik has not found the goings rosy since. The chit fund scam has proved to be a major embarrassment threatening to affect his carefully crafted Mr Clean image. His worry also came to the fore at the BJD Foundation Day celebrations last month when Patnaik, uncharacteristically, launched a blistering attack on the Congress and BJP for resorting to mudslinging on his government. The CM also assigned districts and blocks to ministers and MLAs to be stationed for fixed periods and oversee the organisational activities as well as implementation of the works on the ground.
While the chit fund scam, in which several BJD leaders have been arrested, has given a potent issue for the Opposition to latch on, both the BJP and Congress are trying to reinvent themselves in the state. With BJP president Amit Shah making Odisha his next focus-state, the party unit is already on the upswing. The Congress is also trying to restructure under a new president. Patnaik seems to have chosen the delivery route to not cede any advantage to the two opposition parties. It is now upon the government agencies to turn the political game into actual governance by implementing the promises.