Himansu Shekhar Rout

Former Chief Minister of Jharkhand Raghubar Das, who has been appointed as the 26th Governor of Odisha, will assume his office on Tuesday after his swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhawan. After having the darshan of Lord Jagannath in Puri on Monday morning, Das reached the Raj Bhawan in Bhubaneswar in the afternoon. Before assuming the office, Das is slated to have the darshan of Lord Lingaraj at 8:45 AM on Tuesday.

However, political circles, which are keeping a close watch on the newly-appointed Governor, are abuzz about what kind of role he would play in Odisha as the successor of Prof Ganeshi Lal. Significantly, his appointment has come just a few months ahead of the 2024 general elections, which has prompted many to keep an eye on his future equations with the Odisha government.   

What would be his working relations with the Odisha government are now under the sharp focus of political observers and opposition parties. The former BJP stalwart has rich political experience and a strong background as a five-time MLA from Jamshedpur and as Chief Minister of Jharkhand (2014-2019). 

The newly-appointed Governor, who started his political career in 1977 after working as a worker in the Tata Steel in Jamshedpur, was the president of BJP’s Jharkhand unit twice. 

Notably, the Governors in some states are in the limelight due to their controversies and confrontational attitude with the State governments. This has made the politics there tumultuous as reported in the media. Das in his reaction to the media said that he feels lucky to be given an opportunity to serve the people of Odisha. 

“My priority will be to serve the people of Odisha. Development will be my top priority. I assure the people of Odisha that ‘Jai Jagannath Baba’ has called me to serve the people. The Raj Bhawan will be open 24 hours for the public,” he observed. 

Though he indicated that his functioning will be centered on the development agenda, how he will deal with various other issues related to the government remains to be seen. 

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Political experts are waiting to see if the new Governor would work keeping good coordination with the State government or go on a collision/confrontational course like his counterparts in some other states.     

BJP’s state unit president, Manmohan Samal said, “Given his long and rich experience in politics as a legislator, deputy chief minister, and chief minister in Jharkhand, he would render his service to ensure the welfare of the people in Odisha.”

Congress leader Nishikant Mishra said that he expects the new Governor would be true to the Constitution and work accordingly to lead Odisha on the path of progress. “I hope the Governor would take seriously all the important issues, if linked to the interest of the state, raised by the opposition parties,” he noted.   

BJD leader Prashant Muduli exuded hope that the new Governor will extend constructive cooperation so that the state-centre relations will be strengthened. In view of his long and rich experience, he would activate the governance, the BJD leader added.

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