JB Patnaik returns, says still in politics

Bhubaneswar: Back in Odisha after completing his tenure as the Governor of Assam, 87-year-old Congress veteran J B Patnaik today said he will remain in politics and voiced optimism about revival of the party in the state.

“I have not yet decided what to do next. But, I have been in politics and will remain in it,” Patnaik, also the former Odisha chief minister told reporters here.

Patnaik, who had been chief minister thrice from 1980 to 1989 and from 1995 to 1999, was also the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly and also the pradesh Congress Committee president in the past.

Asked whether he would join the race for the party leadership in the state, he said “I have returned after five years. I have many things to do. First of all I will arrange my library.”

On revival of Congress in Odisha, Patnaik said the party can be strengthened and be in a position to stage a come back if reasonably long period of time was given to a PCC chief, instead of changing leaders frequently.

Recalling the party’s return to power in 1995, Patnaik said when he was made PCC president in the early 90s, he got over three years time to lead Congress to an electoral victory.

Patnaik said he was always guided by ideals and principles and would work for Congress if there was similarity in philosophy.

With the return of Patnaik, his supporters were optimistic about revival of the Congress in the state, which remained out of power ever since Naveen Patnaik become Chief Minister of Odisha in 2000.

“We think only J B Patnaik can bring leaders of all factions under one umbrella. All groups will obey his command and get united,” said former MLA Chinmay Beura, who along with many others welcomed the veteran Congress leader at the airport, where former minister Sitakanta Mohapatra, Suresh Routray, former MLA Ganeswar Behera and many others were present.