Naveen Patnaik controls media in Odisha: BJD MP Tathagata Satapathy

Bhubaneswar: After triggering a tremor in Odisha politics following his self-declared ‘sanyas’ from ‘politics’, Tathagata Satapathy, Dhenkanal BJD MP, once again fired a salvo directly at Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The Chief Minister is exercising control over media in Odisha, claimed Tathagata in an interview to Mumbai Mirror.

Tathagata’s statement is likely to have  a far reaching after- effect in Odisha politics, when the ruling BJD is already battling with a litany of charges regarding gagging of media freedom, feel political observers. They say Tathagata’ s statement will not go down well in the BJD camp, and more so the CM would also not be too much enthused over this ‘big shot’ coming from one who happens to be an editor of a leading Odia daily. However, to soothe the ruffled BJD feathers, in the interview to Mumbai Mirror, Tathagata did mention that Odisha is not an isolated State where media freedom is impinged upon, the scenario is almost the same in the country, he claimed.

The MP also raked up the issue of a retirement age in politics, when in the interview he reiterated that it’s the need of the hour to have an age-limit for the high offices of Chief Minister, Prime Minister, Ministers and even MPs. He cited the changing demography in country where youth below 35-years to have 80 per cent share in country’s population by 2020 as the reason behind and stressed that veterans have to pave the way for the youngsters.

“Naveen Patnaik has been in his fourth-term as Chief Minister, Modi had been Gujarat CM for thrice and now is about to complete his tenure as PM, How many more times do they need to be in the high office,” he questioned.

Significantly, answering to a question, Tathagata recounted meeting CM Naveen Patnaik post his high-profile ‘sanyas’. “I met him and thanked him. He didn’t persuade me to stay back”, he recounted.  Political observers here read this as a big message from Naveen to Tathagata as they say this statement speaks it all.

However, BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb tried to play down the stunning claim made by BJD MP Tathagata Satapathy. Speaking to media persons, Deb said BJD didn’t concur with Tathagata’s remark. Giving a twist to the tale, Deb said media has full freedom in news presentation in Odisha but conceded that some media organisations might be subscribing to a party/person’s view, but this is not a general trend.