Big Ranks, No Power: Chinks In BJD’s ‘Political Rehabilitation’ Policy

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government recently conferred Minister of State (MoS), principal secretary and chief secretary ranks on 12 newly-appointed advisors to various departments. However, a directive approved by the CM on the key roles these advisors have been allocated, has drawn flak from the Opposition BJP and Congress.

Training guns on the Odisha government, the Opposition termed the advisor appointments as a political rehabilitation policy and an attempt by ruling-BJD to suppress the brewing resentment among party leaders.

The directive clearly mentions that these advisors have been appointed by the Government to enable independent feedback system from the beneficiaries of different schemes and communicate to the departments concerned through the Minister.

Role and responsibilities of the advisors as per the directive have been mentioned below:

1. Will take direct independent feedback from beneficiaries of different schemes of the department especially focusing on State initiatives.

2. Will give feedback, observatio and suggestion to the Minister of the department for better implementation of the schemes

3. May participate in ceremonial functions and occasions when duly authorised by the Minister of department

4. Any other function as delegated by Chief Minister from time to time.

There is little doubt that these advisors do not have any power to take a decision related to their respective departments.

On the other hand, Munna Khan, Advisor, Minorities Affairs, ST&SC Development Minorities who was accorded a grand welcome at the Lok Seva Bhawan said, “There is nothing like working according to the capacities or roles assigned. We will confront the people directly and share their feedback with the CM. We have been given special appointments to oversee how government schemes are being implemented at the grassroots.”

The Opposition however has said that these advisors have been chosen only to look after the party affairs.

“They have absolutely no power. The advisors will only be used to oversee Biju Janata Dal’s membership drive, Biju Sena and then submit reports to the Ministers,” stated Congress MLA Santosh Singh Saluja.

“I find two things behind such a move of the Odisha government. One is to tactically divert government funds to the party’s development and the other is to rehabilitate the party,” alleged State BJP General Secretary Prithviraj Harichandan.

Refuting the allegations, BJD leader and S&ME Minister Sameer Dash said that there is no political move behind this and the advisors are totally committed to their respective departments and will work for people as per the guidelines.”