Ramakanta Biswas

The Naveen Patnaik-led BJD government has once again come under criticism from its own party member with MLA Soumya Ranjan Patnaik questioning the suspension of the students’ union election in colleges and universities across the State for the past couple of years. 

Students’ union elections were cancelled in Odisha in 2018 due to Cyclone Titli, in 2019 due to campus violence, and since 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic. 

Addressing the 89th birth anniversary of Harischandra Baxipatra at Jaydev Bhawan in Bhubaneswar on Thursday, Soumya Ranjan, who represents Khandapada constituency in Nayagarh district, apprehended that suspension of college election will lead to scarcity of leadership in future.     

“We are not letting students union elections happen in any college in the State for the past three-four years. I do not know on which basis such a decision has been taken. We must be prepared for the consequences. Today a student can not muster the courage to stand up and utter a few words before public,” Soumya Ranjan said.  

“Therefore, what I feel is that if a student involves in politics in student life, it creates an opportunity for leadership in a democratic system. Today I would like to request the Chief Minister and his advisor to reconsider why they have put a full stop to student politics,” the lawmaker demanded. 

This is not the first time the MLA openly criticised the State government. Earlier in March 2022, the Khandapada MLA had raised questions on efficacy of ‘5T’ initiative and ‘Mo Sarkar’ in the State Assembly.

“5T is creating discrimination in government departments. The initiative is undermining usual departmental functions and this will raise questions on the transparency and efficiency of State administration,” Patnaik had said while participating in a question-answer session on river water management in the House.

Prior to that, the MLA had made a veiled attack on Naveen Patnaik in an article for his alleged inaction in the gruesome kidnap and murder of lady teacher Mamita Meher in Kalahandi district along with other issues.