Naveen and the theory of the ‘lesser evil’

In Odisha, a significant number of people oppose regime change, fearing the BJP's potential for exacerbating communal tensions and authoritarian practices. Despite Naveen Patnaik's long tenure marked by various governance issues, many prefer the known challenges over the risks of BJP rule. This resistance spans from those benefiting from Patnaik’s patronage to those fearing unknown political shifts.

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik

A large section of people in Odisha have been resisting and opposing any talk of a regime change in the state. Their contention: the ‘remedy’ that the pro-changers are seeking would prove worse than the disease itself. Shorn of the semantics, what in means in effect is this: while there is a lot that is wrong with the Naveen Patnaik government, a BJP government in the state would be a complete disaster.

One member of the ‘no change’ brigade, a good friend, put it rather evocatively: “There are some pests here and there in the branches and leaves that can be taken care of only if the ‘tree’ survives”! But the friend obviously did not take into account the fact that even pests, if allowed to fester for too long, have the potential to kill the tree from inside, without any external intervention. And 24 years is a long time by any reckoning for pests to devour the ‘tree’!