Archive for the 'Odisha MLAs' Category

With Congress and BJP down and out in Odisha splitting of BJD to two strong regional parties could be good for Odisha

Odisha Assembly, Odisha in Elections, Odisha MLAs, Odisha MPs, State of the state 6 Comments »

The Congress party in India is a party where the Gandhi family (especially, Sonia and Rahul) have too much power without much responsibility and that has been the major reason the UPA 2 government has floundered in many ways. Commenting on one such aspect, the indecisiveness of UPA2, Shekhar Gupta wrote: "The inherently indecisive style of this establishment is compounded by the fact that its administrative and political authority is so scattered — so scattered, in fact, that the buck has to make a dozen halts en route, like a DTC bus, before it finally stops with somebody." 

Alternatively, the BJP refuses to atone and clean up its tainted image and is yet to apologize for the Gujarat events in 2002 (unlike Congress which has apologized for the 1984 Sikh massacre in Delhi) and continues to stand behind Narendra Modi.

Fortunately, people in Odisha don’t like either and both Congress and BJP are down and out in Odisha.

As a result BJD and Naveen Patnaik have been governing Odisha for the last 12 years and in some sense going stronger. However, there have been many major shortcomings.

  • BJD has been in the opposition in the central government for the last 8 years and Odisha has had very little  representation in the central government.
  • Without a strong and credible opposition the Odisha government has been complacent in many spheres. They have done better than the previous governments but there has been a lot of missed opportunities.
  • The current government really has only one minister with influence, which is the CM.  The other ministers seem to be only for show and have no real decision making power.

The first two shortcomings can be addressed if BJD splits to two "strong" regional parties that can relegate the national parties of Congress and BJP to 3rd and 4th position in the state.

That way at any time one of the regional parties can team up with the coalition that runs the government at the center and make the case for Odisha from within the central govt. This would be better than what happened in the last 8 years where there has been zero (initial days of UPA 1) or only one minister in the central government from Odisha, and ZERO representation from Odisha in the central cabinet.

Tamil Nadu with DMK and AIDMK as the leading regional parties is a good example of regional parties having strong influence in the center. One or the other has been an ally of the center for a long time.

UP with SP and BSP as number 1 and 2 is somewhat similar though neither are part of the central government. But they extend support to the central government. Because of that SP now has strong influence on the government. Moreover, Ajit Singh from another small party is in the cabinet as the minister for Civil Aviation.

If one considers the CPI(M) in West Bengal to be a regional party (which it almost is) then West Bengal with TMC and CPI(M) relegate Congress and BJP out of the top 2. They have benefited by this approach as CPIM from West Bengal had a huge say in UPA1 (until the end) and TMC has 5-6 ministers in the current central government.

In Maharashtra the regional parties of NCP and Shiv Sena partner with Congress and BJP and thus lookout for Maharashtra’s interest.

The third shortcoming can also be addressed by the split in that the parties resulting from the split will provide opportunity for new emerging leaders and intellectuals to be part of these parties and force the BJD-Naveen to decentralize power.

In conclusion, it may be good for Odisha if BJD splits to two "strong" regional parties that can relegate the national parties of Congress and BJP to 3rd and 4th position in the state.

BJD structure allows whistle blowers in Odisha

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Following is an excerpt from an article in

The multi-crore mining scam would not have come to the light had Samir Das, a first timer from Nimapara Assembly constituency, questioned the theft of minerals from Ram Bahadur Thakur mines. 

His starred question exposed a major scam that was going on in the state mining sector for quite few years. 

The scam put the Naveen Patnaik Government in the most difficult time. 

The Government become defensive and now struggling to avoid a CBI probe into the scam. 

Before the dust settled, the coal scam surfaced putting in the dock two Ministers — Urban Development Minister Badri Narayan Patra and School and Mass Education Minister Pratap Jena. 

Coal worth crores of rupees have been allotted in favour companies and firms those do not exist at all, alleged both BJP and Congress Lawmakers. 

And this time round, senior BJD Lawmaker Kalpataru Das first to expose the scam. 

Mr. Das, known for his deep going instinct, gave a detailed write up as to how OSIC under Mr. Patra favoured these firms. 

As if that was not enough, Mr.Das along with Debasis Nayak, a former BJD Minister, have brought into light the Rs 3000 crore Dal scam which has rocked the State Government. 

Mr.Nayak in a letter to Chief Minister and copy to the Director Vigilance gave out the modus operandi of the Dal Scam. 

Fingers have been raised against the Women & Child Welfare Minister, Pramila Mallik, for the massive irregularities in the purchase of Arhar Dal for Mid-day Meal Scheme (MDM)and Special Nutrition Programme (SNP). 

In all these case Congress and BJP failed to expose the scam, however when the BJD Lawmakers lifted the lid of these frauds and scandals, they grabbed the lime light of Media.

While the article suggests that this is BJD shooting on its own foot, I understand it in a different way:

  1. The CM is not involved in these scams. (That is because, he is the supremo in the party, and if he was involved, no one would dare to expose these scams.)
  2. The party members have the freedom to expose scams. I.e., they are not told to hide scams for the interest of the party. This is refreshing and healthy. Compare this to the 2G scam where the UPA government tolerated corruption in the name of coalition government.
  3. Sure this implies that there is some infighting in the party. I think that is better than all being together and hiding each other’s role in scams.
  4. This also means that it is known to the rank and file that the CM (the supremo) will not tolerate corruption and will not reprimand anyone who brings that to his notice. Only when that is known would people come out against their own party and expose corruption by other members.

Ramachandra Guha: The Congress will have to get rid of family rule; I agree with it.

CENTER & ODISHA, Odisha Assembly, Odisha MLAs, Odisha MPs 2 Comments »

I agree with his view on Congress as well as BJP. Following are excerpts from an interview of Dr. Ramachandra Guha by Sheela Bhatt in rediff.

Some Congress leaders have mocked Hinduism, sometimes even Hindu civilisation while trying to attract the minorities.

Lots of people have this view of the Congress. I wish we had a political party to challenge the Congress. That would offer the people of India a wider vision of how this country should be built. But we don’t need polarising issues. Such criticism comes from people who have a polarised vision.

I come from Karnataka. In the last election, the BJP put up 224 candidates but not one Muslim. Almost 15 percent of the population of Karnataka is Muslim. So you are telling 15 percent of Karnataka you don’t count for us. Then how can you blame them for voting for the Congress? The BJP originally, said, ‘appeasement of none, recognition of all.’

But they never followed it. In Karnataka they attacked Christians after the Muslims in Gujarat. They had only one woman in the cabinet and she too has been sacked. So what message are they sending?

Is this the alternative to the Congress? The Congress can be a cynical manipulator. It plays one community against the other, okay, but, what are you offering that is better?

Do you think in the coming decades the BJP will form a national challenge to the Congress?

I don’t think so. It has fallen back to the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). I think it’s possible that in 20 or 30 years time we may see a new political formation. It is possible a middle-class formation which is not captive of one family or one religion or one caste may emerge.

The BJP had a great chance to become a national party, but it has lost it. During Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s time, even at the time of the last election they had a chance to grow, but they always go back to the RSS.

When the Jaswant Singh crisis happened, (former deputy prime minister and then Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha) L K Advani went to see (RSS chief) Mohan Bhagwat who is head of a social-cultural organisation.

Who will trust the BJP as a young and modern party?

After reading the Congress’s history so well are you surprised by the way in which Sonia Gandhi has taken control of the party in the last ten years? Are you surprised to see the way she has grown and established herself?

I think she is a person of great determination. She has worked very hard. In the revival of the Congress she has been central. But there is a negative side also.

I see that a culture of chamchagiri (sycophancy) has flourished under her. There is a darbari (court) culture, there are chamchas around her. That is not healthy for any democracy.

That is not healthy for the Congress. It is not healthy for India that you have a situation where the prime minister has to come through the Rajya Sabha. He is totally dependent on her. He can not make Cabinet appointments without her approval. I think, there are problems. There are problems in the ways the Congress is run today.

Do you think its basic ideals remain strong today?

I don’t know. I can only say about the Congress is that it is not as bad as its alternatives. It is less bad. You cannot say it’s a healthy, democratic, well-functioning political party.

Look at world leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel. How did she come to the top? In democracies political parties have to be open, transparent and secular institutions where anyone can enter. When they put in hard work and talent they can rise.

Look at how Barack Obama and Merkel came up. In the Congress, unless you are close to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi you will not progress. This is well established. We should know that the culture of sycophancy is undemocratic and foreign to the Congress culture. For 80 years the Congress did not function in this way.

Congressmen think that without the Gandhi family they will disintegrate.

Maybe they should have a process of churning and they should rediscover themselves. I can’t say that it’s a happy situation. Because, it amounts to feudalism and it’s not democracy. It is similar to a monarchy where Sonia Gandhi is the queen and Rahul Gandhi is the rajkumar (prince). That is not democratic.

Rourkela MLA and minister of state is in the right track; time for a CDP and a greater Rourkela

Central govt. schemes, Greater Rourkela, Masterplans & CDPs, Odisha MLAs, Rourkela- Kansbahal, State Ministers, Sundergarh 3 Comments »

Following is an excerpt from a report in

Minister of State (independent charge) for Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Sarada Prasad Nayak today outlined his plans for all-round development of his home city Rourkela by including it in the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP).

Addressing mediapersons here, Nayak spoke about formation of greater Rourkela by including suburban pockets like Kalunga, Vedvyas and Fertiliser Township under the Central Government funded CDP. He said if everything goes as expected, in three years the Steel City would get a facelift with a fresh sewerage system, solid waste management project and rehabilitation of slum-dwellers on a 30-acre land. …

List of 20 Orissa ministers: Dharitri

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The pictures of the winners in Orissa assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies: Dharitri

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Winners of Orissa assembly seats (from Samaja)

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Pioneer on Railways’ apathy towards Orissa

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Following is the Pioneer report on this.

The Centre’s stepmotherly attitude towards the cause of Orissa is clearly evident in the railway sector. While the State contributes significantly to the revenue of Railways, the railway route length spread across Orissa is a mere 2,495 km with an average of 15.03 km per 1,000 square km as against the national average of 19 km and much less than the average in the contiguous States.

During 2003-2004 and 2004-05 with respect to the working expenses as a part of gross earnings, the top two profitable railway zones were the South East Central (62.8 percentage and 56.1 percentage) and the East Coast Railways (66.64 percentage and 61.75 percentage). A big part of the profit of the East Coast Railways comes from transporting minerals from various mines in the tribal areas of Orissa.

Despite this, on an average during the last 16 years beginning from 1992-93, the State has received a paltry of Rs 254 crore per annum only. As a whole during the last 16 years, the State has received only Rs 4,070 crore.

While in 1992-93 it had received Rs 68.48 crore, the State received Rs 107.61 crore in 1993-94. Similarly the State received Rs 93.62 crore in 94-95, Rs 149.24 crore in 95-96, Rs 80.29 crore in 96-97, Rs 158.73 crore in 97-98, Rs 254.74 in 98-99, Rs243.74 crore in 99-2000, Rs 239.19 crore in 2000-01, Rs 178.66 in 2001-2002, Rs 194 crore in 2002-03, Rs 306 crore in 2003-04, Rs 360.98 crore in 2004-05, Rs 374.51 crore in 2005-06, Rs 653.90 crore in 2006-07 and Rs 606.51 crore in 2007-08.

Criticising the Ministry of Railways apathetic attitude towards the State, Speaker of Orissa Legislative Assembly Maheswar Mohanty said the Centre had been consistently ignoring the demands of the State in the railway sector for the last several years. “While preparing the Railway Budget, the Centre should take the revenue contribution and economic condition of the State as a criteria rather than taking population into account,” he said.

BJP State president Suresh Pujari has also criticised the Centre’s funding pattern to the State in railway sector.

It may be noted that East Coast Railway that was made functional from April 1, 2003 with three divisions namely, Khurda Road, Sambalpur and Waltair, has a lowest operating cost in the entire country. However, expansion of jurisdiction of East Coast Railways has become a necessity in light of the recent industrial projects coming up in Orissa for ensuring better coordination and facilitation of bulk customers.

In its memorandum which will be submitted to the Prime Minister and Railway Minister, the House Committee of the Orissa Assembly has urged the Ministry of Railways to either extend the jurisdiction of Sambalpur division to include Jharsuguda-Barsuan-Kiriburu, Rourkela-Nuagaon, Jharsuguda-Himgiri or to create a new division with headquarters either at Rourkela or Jharsuguda with its jurisdiction.

Likewise, the jurisdiction of East Coast Railways may be extended to include Bansapani-Padapahar section and Bhadrak-Laxmanath Road section.

Since Independence, only three broad gauge rail links namely, Talcher- Sambalpur, (174 km), Koraput-Rayagada (164 km) and Daitari-Banspani BG rail link have been commissioned. Projects like Lanjigarh Road- Junagarh sanctioned in the year 1993-94 have not been commissioned due to inadequate allotment of funds.

Damodar Rout visits villages around the proposed POSCO location

Jagatsinghpur, Odisha MLAs, Paradip - Jatadhari - Kujanga, POSCO, Steel 2 Comments »

Following is a report from Samaja on this. This is what more legislators of the area should be doing, but without fighting among themselves.