Bhubaneswar Diary: Odisha Housing Minister’s blunder or candid admission!

The hype over Congress’ big catch ahead of the 2024 general elections seems to be dying down very fast.

Published: 20th March 2023 09:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th March 2023 09:28 AM   |  A+A-

Housing and Urban Development Minister Usha Devi speaking to media

By Express News Service

Minister’s blunder or candid admission!
“We have not been briefed. I will discuss with the principal secretary about the cabinet decisions and let you know”, was the response of Minister for Housing and Urban Development Usha Devi when mediapersons sought to know the decisions immediately after the recent cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

The minister’s slip set the cat among pigeons. While the Opposition was quick to pounce on this opportunity to lash at the ruling dispensation over ‘officer raj’ in the state, Devi’s cabinet colleagues realised the blunder and jumped into damage control.

Some of them were of the opinion that she lowered her dignity as a cabinet minister by saying so, because she might be ignorant about the cabinet decisions, but not all are.

Cabinet ministers are usually briefed about the agenda beforehand and provided with cabinet notes (called cabinet memorandums) prior to every meeting and the decisions are taken in their presence. Devi’s admission might just have exposed the new style of working of the government.

- Hemant Kumar Rout

Congress saga goes on
The hype over Congress’ big catch ahead of the 2024 general elections seems to be dying down very fast. The grand old party was visibly buoyed by the joining of former state chief secretary and secretary to chief minister Naveen Patnaik, Bijay Patnaik recently.

This was played up as a sign of the revival of the party in Odisha. But, the enthusiasm seems to have petered out. Soon after joining the party, Patnaik started meeting leaders to persuade them to work unitedly.

But the message seems to have not sunk in as leaders still continue to squabble among themselves shooting off statements on their own. The presence of OPCC president Sarat Pattanayak who started on a promising note, is also no longer felt. Most of the time, the president is busy shuttling between Bhubaneswar and New Delhi to get the office-bearers declared.

Pattanayak is presently camping in New Delhi to get the list finalised as he is a president without any office-bearer. Workers of the party have already become fed up of the state of affairs. One senior leader said there is no chance of improving the seat tally from nine to 90 in the 2024 election. It may turn out to be nine to zero if such situation continues.
- Bijay Chaki


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