Mrunal Manmay Dash

There is no democracy left in Odisha government and the governance has been hijacked by a coterie, said former Odisha Chief Secretary, Bijay Patnaik after joining Congress party on Friday.

He made these statements while speaking at a discussion hosted by OTV on Friday.

He alleged that everybody, from Ministers to bureaucrats, wait for the signal from a particular group before undertaking any job. So how would the voices of the common man be heard, he questioned.

Targeting Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the Congress leader said, “Naveen and his administration have changed over the years. Rampant corruption has taken over the administration now. The government which once had zero tolerance policy is now neck-deep in corruption.”

Experts are of the opinion that he (Patnaik) has lost his trust in the BJD and thinks that the party has no future in Odisha. And as far as the BJP is concerned, he does not approve of their ideology.

Senior journalist K Rabi said, “He has a liberal bent of mind. That is why he joined Congress instead of BJP.”

Corroborating Patnaik’s allegations, Congress’ Santosh Singh Saluja said, “Patnaik is right. Naveen Babu used to meet everybody at that time. But now the Chief Minister is living his life in exile and some officers are ruling him.”

“Bijay Patnaik was the top bureaucrat in Odisha government. When he is alleging something, there must be some truth in his statements. We all know the fact that the government is run by behind-the-scenes-bureaucrats and the CM has become a puppet in their hands,” said BJP’s Prithviraj Harichandan.

Ruling BJD’s Devi Mishra said, “Nobody is helpless in BJD. Every Minister and MLA is going to meet the common man. Bijay Patnaik’s decision to join Congress is his personal choice. We do not think this will affect the BJD in any way.”

While Patnaik’s entry in Congress has created some flutter in the political corridors, it is assumed that he will start campaigning against the BJD government soon enough. He hails from South Odisha so; it is believed that he may contest the next elections from Paralakhemundi Assembly or Berhampur/ Bhubaneswar parliamentary constituency.

(Reported By Jagdish Das & Harihar Chand, OTV)