Bhubaneswar: Even as Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is known as a man of few words, his brief speech in the sixth meeting of the Niti Aayog’s governing council today has stoked a larger political debate in the State.
Addressing the Niti governing council meet, Patnaik very bluntly said ‘too much politics’ is not doing any good to the country’s democracy.
Naveen Patnaik said,
“Elections are an essential feature of democracy. However, the hallmark of a mature democracy is that once elected, Government are meant to work for people, beyond the party line.”
In the same vein the CM asked,
“It’s high time that we as a country have some serious introspection on whether we are able to do the same.”
Outlining the nuances further, Patnaik said,
“Every crime is being politicised, every action of an elected Government is being seen from a political angle. This kind of atmosphere is one of the biggest threats to the pace of development and peace in the country.”
The CM further stated
“It’s high time the country gets out of this election mode and allows elected Governments to function.”
The tone and tenor of CM Patnaik’s statement at Niti Aayog make no bones about what is weighing heavily on the 5-time CM’s mind.
WHAT WEIGHS HEAVY ON NAVEEN’S MIND?
Significantly, the statement made by CM Patnaik carries a context.
The opposition – BJP and Congress – had hauled the Naveen – led BJD government over the coals on the issue of a minor girl’s rape and murder in Nayagarh inside and outside the State Assembly.
During the winter session (November 2020) of the State Assembly, the combined opposition had stalled the proceedings for many days over the sensational case.
With the opposition still baying for the Naveen government’s blood over the issue, the CM raked up this ‘bogey of politicisation of crime’ in the forum of Niti meet today, feel political observers.
WHAT BJD SPOKESPERSON SAY?
When specifically asked whether the CM’s statement regarding ‘politicisation’ of crime a barb thrown at the mega protest of opposition parties over the Nayagarh (Pari) issue, Party spokesperson and BJD Rajya Sabha MP Subhas Singh said,
“The Hon’ble CM has made a statement. After his statement, there is no scope for us (party spokespersons) to comment on it. CM has spoken at a national forum and he was speaking on the current national issues and affairs.”
THE OPPOSITION’S TAKE
The Leader of Opposition in Odisha Assembly and BJP leader Pradipta Nayak hit back at CM Patnaik. He said,
“Naveen babu has to do some introspection. His party gives a political spin to everything at the drop of the hat. From Biju Yuva Vahini to hockey et al, the hands of the party are full of rampant politicisation. The CM has no moral right to talk about 'too much politics’ in democracy.”
IS CM PERTURBED OVER OPPOSITION ONSLAUGHT?
Political observers feel that the ‘Pari’ issue is weighing down heavily on the CM’s mind because, in the precedence of the issues Patnaik raised in the Niti Forum, “too much politics’’ in democracy gained precedence over Naveen’s pet issue – women reservation in the legislature.
NAVEEN SPEAK ON WOMEN RESERVATION
“National parties had promised women’s reservation both in Lok Sabha and State Assemblies. History will not forgive us if we renege on this commitment. This calls for serious deliberation and taking it forward.”
THEN CM’S TAKE ON SPECIAL STATUS
“If the country has to really move forward, regions which are neglected and populations that are vulnerable have to be taken along. Committed and targeted action is needed for that. NITI Aayog has a major role to play in this. Specific sections that need focus like malnutrition, connectivity, sex ratio imbalances etc.”
NAVEEN’S TRIBAL CARD
“A number of proposals of different States relating to the inclusion of tribal communities in the ST list have been pending from 1978 onwards. Many of them are subsets on phonetic variations of the names of existing ST communities. It is unjust to keep these pending for years without a decision.”
ON COOPERATIVE FEDRELISM
The CM said,
“Covid-19 was a challenge for the world and India showed with its unified response what is possible. European countries and the United States could not put up a unified front. The same unified response and inclusive approach should be adopted for all major challenges facing the country in the true spirit of cooperative federalism”
NAVEEN SHOWS NATIONAL LEADER STREAK
Donning the role of a sober and sensible ‘national’ political leader, CM Naveen Patnaik had appealed for a greater consensus on all critical national issues. He signed off his address by saying,
“History will remember us on what our response has been on critical issues affecting our people and the country, rising above political considerations”