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Cassian Baliarsingh

The Opposition parties in Odisha on Thursday launched a scathing attack on the ruling BJD government alleging that the State is being run by bureaucrats and not ministers.

Both the BJP and the Congress trained guns at the Odisha government today soon after BJD MLA Soumya Ranjan Patnaik exposed the 'inefficiency' of the BJD government and admitted that the State is not governed by democracy, but by bureaucracy.

“Democracy is being murdered in Odisha,” said the BJD MLA and Editor of an Odia daily during the inauguration of a book ‘Anubhavaru Anubhuti’, authored by former minister and veteran politician, Damodar Rout. 

Leaders of Congress and BJP echoed the views of Patnaik and agreed that bureaucracy has taken over the governance in the State.

Senior BJP leader and Opposition Chief Whip Mohan Majhi said, “Odisha is no longer governed by democracy. He (Soumya Ranjan Patnaik) is absolutely right. All the powers are in the third floor and in the hand of one bureaucrat who is running the State as per his wish.”

Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati said, “It is true that Babus have become more powerful than ministers. Odisha is under ‘Office Raj’. Ministers have become helpless now.” 

Several memorandums and letters have been written by ministers to bring the matter to the notice of the CM and Speaker in Assembly, but to no avail. Even, Centre has sent letters to the State government in order to sensitize government officials with regard to their duties and obligations in relation to dealings with Members of Parliament and State Legislatures. 

“Those in power are trying to humiliate and give orders to MPs and MLAs. They (ruling BJD) have given all the powers to government officials. They are filled with so much ego that they do not even pay heed to Centre’s letters,” said senior journalist Sandeep Sahu.

This isn’t the first time, Patnaik has been critical of the government. Earlier, taking a dig at the State government for the encroachment of lands by neighbouring states like Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand, he had said that Odisha was losing lands in the border areas due to non-Odia officers.

“Non-Odia officers don’t know about the culture of Odisha and hence, bureaucracy’s control over governance is hurting the interest of the State,” he had rued. 

He had pulled up the government over 5T model and ‘Mo Sarkar’ initiative during Question Hour sessions in the Assembly.

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