Pradeep Pattanayak

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik receiving Lifetime Achievement Award in New Delhi today has set off a churning in the political discourse back in Odisha.
Launching a broadside against the Biju Janata Dal, the State unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) termed the entire award-receiving event as nothing but a political stunt.

“If the Chief Minister has any self-respect, he should have asked his friends and leaders in his party to refrain from parading the event. Instead, the party has started preparation to celebrate the occasion in a big way. It seems to me that the Chief Minister can’t see it through that his party members are ridiculing him by organizing such a big programme,” said State BJP general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan. 

Congress leader Suresh Routray said, “The Chief Minister is hankering after publicity only. He has been the Chief Minister of Odisha for 22 years. What development the State has seen during this period?”

“Getting awards from NGOs is not a big thing. These awards are purchased,” he added.

Reacting to it, School and Mass Education Minister Samir Dash said, “In the past, whenever they tried to target the Chief Minister, people gave them befitting replies. In 2024, they will again give them the same reply.”

In his reaction, BJD MLA Prashant Muduli said, “The job of the Opposition party is to oppose everything. So there is nothing to be worried about what they are saying. The fact is that the Chief Minister has been receiving certificate from his people for five consecutive terms. This bears testimony to the fact that his popularity is only increasing. He has been adjudged as one of the best political leaders in the nation.”

Mega celebration after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik receiving award is not a new thing. 

Prior to 2019 general elections, he was conferred upon ‘Ideal Chief Minister Award’ by Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT) School of Government. Then too, the BJD had hosted a mega welcome ceremony. And now, 2024 general election is approaching. And the same thing is repeating. 

“There is no wrong in welcoming the Chief Minister for receiving the award.  But if it is being marketed politically, it shouldn’t be. When it comes to progress, the Chief Minister is well ahead of the State,” opined senior journalist Prasanna Mohanty.

Notably, a New Delhi-based Capital Foundation Society conferred Lifetime Achievement Award upon Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at an event organized at India International Centre in New Delhi today. Patnaik received the award from former Chief Justice of India justice N V Ramana. The programme was chaired by justice A K Tripathy. 

After receiving the award, the Chief Minister said, “I dedicate this award to the 4.5 crore people of Odisha who have been continuously blessing me to serve them for the past 22 years. The faith they have in me is the biggest inspiration to work towards an Empowered Odisha. Odisha has come a long way in the last 22 years.” 

The Chief Minister is scheduled to return to Odisha on Tuesday.