On Independence Day, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik dropped certain authoritarian practices that were colonial vestiges besides announcing a bouquet of governance initiatives called Mo Sarkar (My Government) under which he would personally call the public to check about their experience at police stations and district headquarters hospitals. He also directed his ministers to dial people and seek their feedback on how public offices respond to their grievances.
This is a first-of-its-kind and significant move by the BJD-led government in the state. The step aims to take governance delivery to people. Two days back, Naveen sacked 15 public servants for their involvement in corruption. And more heads are on the line. Naveen—who had launched a 3T (Teamwork, Transparency and Technology) model of governance in 2017, expanded it to 5T (Time leading to Transformation) soon after he assumed office for the fifth term—is sending a message to his administration that it is time to move on from the past.
As someone who keeps a finger on the pulse of the masses, the BJD chief knows that inventiveness and political longevity go hand in hand. In a democratic set-up, the success of a regime is determined by the speed at which it delivers governance. The leadership need not only think out of the box, it must also outthink the rest. The Odisha chief minister, known for his political artfulness, has once again shown that he is in no mood to rest on the laurels of the historic fifth mandate accorded to him by the people of the state. He is looking to re-invent his political governance. In his last tenure, he kept his political rivals at bay with a blitzkrieg of people’s contact programmes. This time, his priority appears to be bridging the gaps. The 72-year-old master strategist who stormed to power in Odisha about two decades ago with the promise of a transparent administration clearly understands that the people’s expectations are sky high and politics of the day is to remain at the top of one’s game all the time.