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Naveen @ 74:A reluctant entrant into politics, turns a master in political survival

SUBRAT DAS

Bhubaneswar16|10; Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik  today turned 74.He grew one year older and of course, politically more mature. In his fifth consecutive term in office, he now plans strategies to romp home to power for the sixth term.

A reluctant entrant into politics in 1997 following the death of his illustrious father Biju Patnaik, the former socialite has over the years mastered the art of survival. Naveen has not only been able to ease out his political foes from his own party and managed to foil the coup attempt by his principal advisor Pyarimohan Mohapatra in 2012 when he was away in London, he has also been successful to neutralize the Modi wave sweeping across the country twice.  In 2014 election, Naveen’s  Biju Janata Dal (BJD) had won 20 out of 21 Lok Sabha seats and 117 seats in the 147-member assembly in Odisha. During the last general poll, BJD had bagged 12 Lok Sabha seats and 112 assembly seats, despite a strong BJP wave across the country.

Completing consecutive nineteenth year in office, Naveen is now the third longest surviving chief minister across the country, next to Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling ( who has been in power for the past 25 years continuously) and his former West Bengal counter part Jyoti Basu. If he completes the present five –year term, he will break Basu’s record of ruling the state for consecutive 23 years. And if he comes to power for the sixth term….

To over come the anti-incumbency factor and win the confidence of the electorate for the sixth consecutive term, Naveen has launched “Mo Sarkar” programme from the recent Gandhi Jayanti. He is calling people and collecting feedback from them over phone about the functioning of police station and hospital and the public service delivery at the grass root level. Naveen said  on October 14,” I myself have in the meanwhile made 120 phone calls and the peoples’ feedback was encouraging”

“As per our plan, I had asked the senior officers to visit at least 15 districts. At all places, peoples’ feedback was encouraging and the reaction of the police and health officials was very good”, he said. Meanwhile, Naveen’s Secretary VK Pandian and other senior officials have visited the headquarter hospitals of Malkangiri, Nabarangpur districts Koraput,Sundargarh and other districts. The chief district medical officer of Sundargarh has been suspended for dereliction in duty on the basis of Pandian’s report.

On June 22, Naveen while addressing senior officers, had given a broad outline of his citizen centric approach, “ I want you to look at all services from the citizens point of view. Totally citizen centric governance. I write your performance appraisal reports. People write my performance appraisal report. I want a link between these two. Both of us have to be accountable”, said the chief minister.

On July 8, Naveen enunciated a dynamic model of governance. He added two more T ( time and transformation) to his earlier 3-T mantra (teamwork, transparency and technology). Meanwhile, he has entrusted the responsibility of supervising implementation of 5-T mantra to his trusted aide VK Pandian.

On the day Naveen assumed office for the fifth consecutive term on May 29 this year, he convened the first cabinet meeting to endear two major vote banks- farmers and women. He increased the target of KALIA beneficiaries to 75 lakh farmer families  from 42 lakh  and approved Rs 1000 crore worth government business to be done by women self help groups through Mission Shakti. “ With these two resolutions, the promise I had made about KALIA and Mission Shakti be implemented on the day we assume office is honoured”, Naveen told his cabinet. On June 4, he asked his ministerial colleagues to submit the report about the implementation of poll manifesto, by 7th of every month.

He had earlier played women card by adopting an unanimous resolution in the state assembly urging the Centre to  make provision for reservation of 33 percent seats in the Parliament and state assembly. He had been complimented by the UN for his initiative.

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