Challenges galore for Naveen in days to come

Bhubaneswar: With the ruling BJD completing two years of its fourth term today, the focus is now on how party supremo and chief minister Naveen Patnaik will meet the challenges in the third year.

Though the general elections and Assembly elections are scheduled only after three years, the major challenge for the ruling party will be the panchayat elections scheduled next year.

Apart from this, it will be a tough challenge for the chief minister to find an amicable solution to the intermittent intra-party bickering and war of words between senior and junior leaders.

Besides, to reassure the people of his transparent administration and rebuild his clean image, Patnaik will have to get rid of the chit fund stigma and take proactive steps to refund money to the duped investors.

Last but not the least, proper implementation of a series welfare schemes announced by his government would be another major challenge for him.

Talking about the challenges, senior journalist Navin Das said intra-party squabble would be the foremost challenge for the chief minister. In the coming days, the party will witness an intensification of the infighting. “You must have noticed a series of such instances of war or words between the junior and senior party leaders despite the whip of the chief minister,” he said.

Congress leader Ganeswar Behera said the return of chit fund money to the duped investors would be the first and foremost challenge for the chief minister. The chief minister should focus more on agriculture, education and health which are the most neglected sectors, he said.

BJP leader Prithviraj Harichandan said the Naveen Patnaik-led government neither has any focus nor any long-term plans. “The government, in its two-year rule of its fourth term, has failed on all fronts. We will certainly give credit to the government if it makes an effort to bring at least some changes in this state in the next three years of its present term”, he pointed out.

“Be it a major scam in ration card distribution, the helplessness of the state government to come clean on mega chit fund scam or the crooked politics by the leaders of ruling party manipulating Central schemes, the people of the state will reject this government outright in the coming days,” said BJP state president Basant Panda.

Senior Congress leader and Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Prasad Harichandan said the biggest weakness of this government is that it is thoroughly incapable of taking action against corruption or corrupt elements.

“The people of Odisha are well aware of the investigation by the State Vigilance and the Crime Branch into the chit fund scam. The name of the persons, who the government had tried its best to protect, has come to the fore. What is more shocking is that the government, which is mired in land scam, scam in the allotment of plots and gross violation in the discretionary quota rules, had instituted a task force to punish the guilty involved in these scams. Can anyone say that the government has been able to bring back a plot from any person till date?” Harichandan asked.

The ruling party expectedly defended its position vigorously.

BJD spokesperson Sashi Bhusan Behera said the state government has always worked for the inclusive development of the people and the state. The government is always prepared to face the challenges of the opposition as the people are strongly behind the government.

On the other hand, BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb said it is quite obvious that the government will always hear criticism from the Opposition as they cannot praise the government.

“But I must say that in the political history of Odisha, no previous government other than the BJD government has made its political manifesto as its agenda for governance,” he said.