In Odisha, it's Patnaik all the way

Smart and suave CM reduces ‘Modi wave’ to a ripple here, readies for fourth term

ajay

Ajay Singh | April 1, 2014




The moment you get down at Bhubaneswar airport, the change in the weather hits you. It is warm and humid -- a sharp contrast to Delhi where a withering winter still retains a nip in the air. But what is curiously evident is the change in the political atmosphere.

Large cutouts of BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi have only ornamental value while Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik steals the show. In fact, Patnaik is an enigma for most people in Odisha. And that is his great political asset.

Patnaik is not conversant with Odia, the language spoken in the state. Yet it is not a disability but an advantage. “It is good that he does not know Odia. Those speaking fluent Odia had ruined the state,” says the driver who takes me from airport to hotel. Perhaps the driver has been echoing the sentiment of common people who felt cheated by conventional politicians.

Patnaik is unconventional in the strict sense of the term. Being the son of legendary Biju Patnaik, his lineage and his maternal links with Punjab have combined to surround him in an aura of exclusive elitism. His bachelorhood bestows him the image of an ‘incorruptible’ leader. Despite a slew of corruption cases against his ministers, his image is Teflon-coated and remains insulated from all charges.

By all indications, Odisha remains perfectly insulated from the so-called Modi wave. And the credit exclusively goes to Patnaik whose development track record has won over people. In the past ten years, Bhubaneswar has transformed into one of the best cities in the country. Unlike the past when the state appeared ill-prepared and helpless to tackle natural calamities, the outstanding performance of the state government during and after the Phailin cyclone last year has registered on people's consciousness. Similarly Odisha is no longer known for famine deaths, as it earlier used to be.

What is curiously conspicuous is a pro-incumbency wave that has been sweeping the state for the past 15 years. Patnaik will have a fourth term if he wins the state assembly elections which have been coinciding with the Lok Sabha elections since 1999. Along with his image of an able administrator, Patnaik also comes across as a consummate politician. The manner in which he jettisoned the BJP just before the 2009 elections and decimated his rivals in the Congress and those within his own party is a testimony to his evolution as a skilled practitioner of statecraft. In such a scenario, Modi's influence in the state that sends 21 Lok Sabha members is quite insignificant.

Comments

 

Other News

Yoga Day has changed perceptions about it in ten years: PM

The expanding awareness of Yoga over the past ten years has changed perceptions associated with it, prime minister Narendra Modi said in Srinagar on Friday on the occasion of the International Day of Yoga.   “Yoga is now emerging beyond limited boundaries. The world is witnessing t

Listening to tomorrow: The imperative for youth-driven data in India

Over a decade and a half ago when I was still a student, millennials felt the burning need to break down the barriers of gatekeeping in traditional media. Young voices, brimming with ideas and opinions, were often sidelined, their perspectives deemed too marginal or unrefined for mainstream discourse. This

Israel-Palestine War: Lessons from Past Peace Efforts

Israel-Palestine War: Give Peace a Chance By Dr. Joseph K. Thomas IndiePress, 243 pages, Rs 399 T

How inner work helps subvert painful narratives

Unashamed By Neha Bhat HarperCollins, 240 pages, Rs 499   * How do I connect better with my partner? *&nbs

Heatwave spikes power demand: measures taken to ensure supply

The Northern Region has been experiencing high power demand conditions due to a prevailing heat wave since May 17. Despite these challenging conditions, the highest ever peak demand of 89 GW in the Northern Region was successfully met on June 17. This achievement was made possible by import

PM to release 17th installment of PM-KISAN at Varanasi on Tuesday

Prime minister Narendra Modi will release the 17th instalment of the PM-KISAN scheme on Tuesday at Varanasi and more than 9.26 crore farmers will receive the benefits amounting to over Rs.20,000 crore. The PM will also distribute the certificates to more than 30,000 SHGs trained as Krishi Sakhis to work as

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook Twitter Google Plus Linkedin Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter