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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

News Highlights

  • Though the green shoots of his political avatar were to the fore when the suave Minister in a press conference with local media on the largest ever budgetary allocation to Odisha in February had delivered a three worded line 'coastline is goldmine'.

This faceoff marks the arrival of Ashwini Vaishnaw as a politician on the stage, though well-known mind reader Amit Kalantri had once said  “Bureaucrats and Politicians are different people.”

Replying to the debate on grants for Railways in Lok Sabha, Union Railway Minister Vaishnaw demonstrated all the elements of a politician - energy (stamina), tactfulness, emotional stability.

Vaishnaw, who is a member of Rajya Sabha from Odisha, is known as a career bureaucrat and technocrat in the power corridors. CM Naveen Patnaik has supported his candidature for the RS, despite carrying 'Lotus' on the sleeves. BJD strategists voted for Vaishnaw, because they evaluated him as one without political skin but with bureaucratic bones.

Though Vaishnaw has displayed the histrionics of a 'conscientious' politician earlier this year after allocating a record Rail budget for Odisha, the recent faceoff of the suave minister with TMC's prominent face Nushrat Jahan shows that he seems to have learned the ropes of a politician quite fast.

In fact, Vaishnaw during his stint as a collector in Balasore and Cuttack was known as a bureaucrat who like to keep a low profile.

Though in his political avatar, the minister retains his trademark modesty, the typical political traits of tactfulness and energy were to the fore in that popular face off on the bullet train in Lok Sabha.

The Face-Off

On March 17, TMC MP Nushrat Jahan while participating in a discussion on the grants for the Ministry of Railways tried to derail the bullet train project claims of the Modi government said, "What has been the result of bullet train project in India? Nothing, because the soil of India is not fit for the ambitious project."

Replying to this barb thrown by BJP's bête noire Mamata Banerjee's TMC, Ashwini Vaishnaw in a very cool demeanour first slammed the TMC MP calling it 'shameful, utterly shameful. But later paid back to the TMC in a larger coin.

Vaishnaw's Doosra Amuses BJP BenchesVaishnaw's Doosra Amuses BJP Benches

Showing all the dramatic traits of a politician, Vaishnaw bowled a doosra to TMC's' bullet' spin. "The Party which vows on the slogan of Maa, Mati and Manush, has no faith on her own nation's Mati (soil), what type of Manush is she?" retorted Vaishnaw.

Railway Minister Ashwini VaishnawRailway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw

This Vaishnaw doosra had rankled the TMC members who went on a shouting spree, Holding on to his nerves, the Minister put in black and white all about the strides made in the bullet train project by the country.

The Minister said, "Work on Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train Project is progressing at a rapid pace. 99.7 lpercent and acquisition completed in Gujarat side. More than 750 pillars were constructed. Bridge construction over Narmada and Tapti is progressing well. The work is being done at a speed of 8 km per month. Shortly, it will rise to 10km per month."

The attack by Ashwini Vaishnaw on Mamata Banerjee's bread and butter slogan - Maa Mati and Manush , his composure and gestures et al indicate the arrival of politician Vaishnaw on the scene. (see the images given above)

Odisha Green Shoots    

Though the green shoots of his political avatar were to the fore when the suave Minister in a press conference with local media on the largest ever budgetary allocation to Odisha in February had delivered a three worded line 'coastline is goldmine'.

Observers then saw it as a massive political punch to CM Naveen Patnaik-led ruling BJD, especially when he said,  "PM Narendra Modi during his stint as CM in Gujarat had developed 30 ports. Odisha's coastline is almost in equal length to that of the western coastal state. Ports are the hubs of economic activities all over the world. But Odisha has only 3 operational ports," said Vaishnaw

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