Pradeep Pattanayak

While Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been in Rome as part of his second official foreign tour in his 22-year-reign, back in Odisha, Opposition parties Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday flayed him for not taking any ministers with him. His delegation comprises only bureaucrats. 

The CM should have taken ministers in charge of Industries, Food Supplies or Revenue and Disaster Management departments along with him, the leaders opined. 

“It suggests that the CM doesn’t trust his ministers. If he has trust on them, then the ministers of concerned departments should have also accompanied him along with the secretaries. It seems he is disregarding his ministers,” said BJP leader Pradeep Purohit.  

Senior Congress leader and Jatni MLA Suresh Routray said, “Ministers had accompanied him (Naveen Patnaik) during his last foreign trip to London in May, 2012. This time, he, ignoring them, has taken only bureaucrats with him. This is perhaps why people in the State believe ministers are not so powerful as to transfer even a peon.”

In response to the Oppositions’ criticisms, Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Pramila Mallik said, “The CM is well aware of everything and can talk on anything. He is capable enough to get things done by himself. It is the job of the Opposition parties to oppose the government. So they are always digging up dirt on the government.”

Notably, during his London visit, the then ministers like Ramesh Majhi and Usha Devi had accompanied Naveen.  
Meanwhile, after reaching Rome, Patnaik met India’s Ambassador to Italy, Neena Malhotra. 

He left New Delhi at 4.15 am on Monday and reached Rome later in the day. 

During his six-day stay in Rome, he will attend an event of the World Food Progarmme (WFP) where he will share the details of transformative initiatives his government has taken to ensure food security. 

He will also share details regarding disaster management. 

Odia expats living in Netherland, Germany, Belgium and Italy are scheduled to meet the CM on June 23. During his stay, Patnaik will also meet Pope Francis at the Vatican City. 

“We are very excited for the fact that our CM is on a foreign trip. He had last visited London in 2012. We are going to Rome to meet him,” said Sukant Kumar Sahu, an Odia expat living in London. 

Notably, the CM is scheduled to reach Dubai on June 26 where he will meet potential investors.