Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik seems to be in a hurry. Gone are the days when he came to his office in the Secretariat in a routine manner, presided over a review meeting or two and returned to Naveen Niwas in the evening after clearing files. His Delhi trips and visits outside the state capital were also routine—once or twice a month.
But all these have changed now. As Congress and newly-floated Odisha Jan Morcha (OJM) mount their campaigns, it seems the CM wants to keep himself a step ahead of his opposition by launching a massive district tours. With the 2013 urban polls and 2014 general elections in mind, Naveen has already covered half the districts by now. Going by party insiders, he might cover all 30 districts by December. During the last one month alone, he covered at least four districts, including two KBK districts to keep his detractors at bay.
Naveen visited Nuapada district on Friday ahead of the much talked about rally of the OJM at Bhawanipatna on November 19, warming up the political scene in the area. Significantly, the CM attended nine programmes during which he inaugurated bridges and roads, laid foundation stones of hostels meant for SC and ST girl students and addressed two public meetings at Nuapada and another at Kusumal in Khariar block.
Though his detractors allege that Naveen rushed to Nuapada to neutralise the effect of dissident BJD leader Pyarimohan Mohapatra, in his speeches, the CM carefully avoided these issues. Naveen mostly concentrated on the development and welfare programmes launched by the BJD government during the last 12 years giving enough hints that he is in an election mode.
That’s not all. Naveen now he has started sending senior leaders to the places to prepare the ground for his visit. This he had never done before giving rise to talks in the opposition circles that he is apprehensive of losing grip on the party organisation after the departure of his adviser-turned-foe Pyarimohan.
President of the Biju Yuva Janata Dal Sanjay Dasburma and former minister Balabhadra Majhi camped for several days at Bhawanipatna, headquarters of Kalahandi district, and Nuapada district preparing the ground for Naveen’s visit.
Earlier this month, Naveen visited Mayurbhanj district where he announced several sops to woo the tribals that include opening of a BEd training college for tribal students at Baripada. Tribal youths would be trained free of cost under self-employment schemes to make them self-reliant and they would be allowed to appear in entrance tests free of cost.
The functioning of the CM has also changed. Sources said that he is regularly reviewing implementation of welfare programmes launched by the government.
- Sunday Standard