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aparijita sarangi

BJP’s Odisha MP Aparajita Sarangi In Campaign Mode, Puts Poster Seeking One More Chance

Firebrand BJP MP from Odisha Aparajita Sarangi is in the news for two reasons. First, for her effort to protect netizens from loan sharks. Second, even though her party is yet to give her the Lok Sabha ticket officially, she has already swung into campaign mode by putting up posters in her constituency in Bhubaneswar which says “One more chance to Aparajita”. Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s party Biju Janata Dal is yet to decide who will fight against Aparajita. Meanwhile, it is learnt that former Mumbai’s top cop Arup Patnaik who lost to Aparajita Sarangi in 2019 by a small margin has decided not to contest citing health issues. Her party sources say Aparajita is focussing on battle of ideas, how issues are interpreted, and how she can control the narrative to swing vote bank politics. For instance, she wrote to chief minister seeking his intervention to bring back peace and normalcy in group clash-hit Padmakesharipur village at Patia, Bhubaneswar and release 150 local residents from jail. Aparajita is also urging government actions against money lenders charging exorbitant 20% interest per month which led to the recent community unrest at Patia.
jagannath temple 002

Pan Spitting Fine And Dress Code At Lord Jagannath Temple

Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) is making news. SJTA will open the Rs 943 crore Shreemandira Parikrama heritage corridor around Shree Jagannatha Temple at Puri to the public on January 17 2024. The 75-meter corridor will provide expansive, unobstructed corridors around the Meghanada Pacheri giving an opportunity to devotees and pilgrims to have visual connect with the Temple, Neelchakra and Meghanada Pacheri. It is Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s dream project and his promise to the people of Odisha. Surely, it will stand his party BJD in good stead in the 2024 Lok Sabha poll. For SJTA this project is both a challenge and opportunity. While it will attract tourists from around the world and contribute to the state GDP, it also means softer hygiene issues are taken care of on a war footing. It is a common sight to see most walls splattered with pan stains. And people using banned plastic bags. For starters SJTA will do the clean-up of temple walls and surrounding areas before the D Day. Besides, it has decided to impose a Rs 1,000 fine on visitors if they are caught chewing paan, gutka or using plastic bags within the precincts of the Jagannath temple. It has already embarked on an educational campaign to sensitise visitors. According to SJTA administrator Ranjan Kumar Das, IAS, we are strengthening camera surveillance and also discouraging people coming in shorts, transparent dresses, torn jeans and other inappropriate costumes from January 1, 2024.
naveen millets

Odisha Govt To Invest Rs 2500 Crore To Support Millet Farmers

Taking cue from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Odisha government headed by Naveen Patnaik has embarked on Mission Millet. Towards this it hosted the International Convention on Millets at Bhubaneswar to commemorate the UN International Year of Millets. Besides, the state has marked November 10 as Mandia Divas (Millet Day) with the aim of boosting millet cultivation and consumption statewide. Patnaik’s drive of promoting millets has won him laurels from the international community. Patnaik is keen to make Odisha a centre of excellence in millet production and start-up entrepreneurship. It may be recalled that at the recent G20 event held in India millet food was served to international guests. FAO representative Takayuki Hagiwara said India and Odisha are the champions of millet which can transform the agricultural landscape in India. Union Agricultural Secretary Manoj Ahuja has gone on record saying that Odisha’s Millet Mission has created a buzz around the globe. Patnaik reiterated saying that his government will go all out to make Odisha a centre of excellence on health food millet. People in the know say that Odisha Millet Mission is zooming ahead with calibrated planning and speed. From a mere 17,000 quintals in 2018-2019, Odisha’s millet production has leapfrogged to 6 lakh quintals today. The seriousness of the government can be seen from the fact that it has earmarked Rs 2500 crore to support millet farmers by buying back millet at minimum support price to bolster income and livelihood generation.

NMIMS To Set Up 40-Acre Campus In Bhubaneshwar  

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik continues to pursue his dream of making his state, a centre of educational hub. In particular Patnaik is keen educational institutes make students jobs ready. The state already houses reputed institutions like XIMB, IIT, AIIMS, NISER, Utkal University, OUAT and KIIT. In keeping with his goal, the chief minister has roped in the prestigious Mumbai-based NMIMS to set up its branch in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha. Patnaik who is wooing investors in the education space has already overtaken Kolkata as the preferred destination as far as medical centres are concerned. Towards this objective, Patnaik’s government in a cabinet meeting has decided to enter into a MoU with the Mumbai-based Shri Vile Parle Kelavani Mandal (SVKM) for the establishment of a world-class educational campus of NMIMS University in Bhubaneswar. By roping in NMIMS it will have the advantage of a learning centre fostering national and global engagement in the field of education. It is understood that the Odisha Government shall provide SVKM 40 acres of land on lease in Jatni, Bhubaneswar for the establishment of the university to be developed in phases. According to NMIMS sources, the MOU with the Odisha government is expected to be finalised over the next two weeks and there are also plans to commit 30% reservations to Odia students based on merit. 
Anubhav mohanty)Manoj Mishra

New Controversy Surfaces At Ollywood, Anubhav Mohanty Accuses Manoj Mishra Of Creating Factions

Controversy doesn’t seem to leave Odia superstar and BJD MP Anubhav Mohanty. Be it his ongoing divorce proceedings with his wife Varsha or his fraternity in Ollywood denying his accusations. Reportedly, Manoj Mishra Ollywood’s well-known actor-director-producer has strongly denied via social media Mohanty’s allegations that he is instigating factionalism. The trigger apparently was the key role played by Mishra to boycott the screening of the film Ram at Sambalpur few days ago due to his strained relationship with the film producer Jitu Mangaraj. Mohanty also alleged that Mishra also tried to create conflict and misunderstanding between fellow cine stars Babushan, Arindam and himself. Reacting to these allegations Mishra said “I have never made any attempt knowingly or unknowingly to create any division in the industry”. Mishra also cited indifferent behaviour of cine stars Anubhav and Arindam not attending the release of his film Mind Game in spite of a personal invite by him to bless the inaugural show with their presence. With these controversies out in the open, Utkal Cine Chambers of Commerce have chosen to ban Manoj Mishra’s upcoming movies for two years. This action saw massive protests in western Odisha coming out in support of Mishra. Odia actor Babushan has said that this issue should not be escalated any more.
Raghuvar das

Odisha’s New Governor Decides To Play Ball With Naveen Patnaik For Now

Looks like BJP firebrand leader and former chief minister of Jharkhand Raghubar Das who was recently appointed as the Governor of Odisha has changed his tack. Das, known for his aggression and cryptic remarks against the Biju Janata Dal government headed by Naveen Patnaik is now singing differently. He is now invoking the spirit of Team India, saying “he is looking forward to working with Patnaik in the land of Lord Jagannath.” He also said he will take the eastern state to new heights in coordination with the Patnaik government. Why this sudden change of heart and platitudes? Maybe in his new role, he cannot be seen using aggression and tactics; he needs to be seen conducting the office of the governor in a very dignified manner. Though there are examples galore of how the Governors appointed by the Union government have been engaged in a ding dong battle with the chief ministers in non BJP states like West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Also, it has dawned on the BJP leadership that it will not be easy to dislodge Patnaik from his throne. So BJP seems to be applying, “If you can’t beat them, join them strategy”. But, according to sources, Governor Das known for his organisational ability has been sent to Odisha with a purpose. Though for now things seem hunky dory but one will have to wait and watch till the outcome of 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Why Naveen Patnaik Chose To Skip His 77th Birthday Celebrations

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik did not celebrate his 77th birthday. Reason: he was in grief as his sister Gita Mehta, the celebrated author passed away on September 16, 2023. But, this is not the first time Patnaik is skipping his birthday celebrations in spite of the fact his party workers wanted to celebrate it with fanfare. Many CMs announce social welfare schemes to coincide with their birthdays.  Not Patnaik. Incidentally, it is the sixth consecutive year he is giving the celebration a miss and specially requested well-wishers, party workers not to throng his official residence Naveen Niwas with garlands and bouquets.  Instead he asked them to celebrate his birthday with the underprivileged, orphan and differently-abled children. In the past six years his reason for skipping the celebrations has been on account of some tragedy besieging his state like flood, cyclone,covid-19 pandemic. In keeping with Patnaik’s desire, BJD leaders planted trees, visited hospitals and distributed fruits. His close circle says he is not a partying man…he prefers to be in the background motivating party leaders to touch people’s lives instead.

Aviation Ministry Grants Site Clearance For Odisha's Temple City International Airport Project

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has reasons to cheer. His proposal to set up an airport in the temple city of Puri has finally got clearance from the Modi government. The Ministry of Civil Aviation recently granted site clearance approval to the Rs 5,361 crore project. By having an airport, Odisha CM wants to promote international tourism based on Jagannath culture and use Puri as a gateway to promote Buddhist circuit tourism. Plans are afoot to convert Bhubaneshwar to domestic airport status. It is learnt that a six-lane expressway connecting Bhubaneshwar with the proposed Puri international airport will be built at a cost of Rs 3600 crore. This is expected to cut travel time to 30 minutes between the two airports. But, Aviation expert who know the issue well say “Puri is not a viable project as yet.” To make Puri international airport viable, a fully integrated business plan including technical details need to be prepared. Second, it is important to get environmental clearance as Puri is cyclone prone. Third, the sonic boom of aeroplanes may affect the sustainability of Lord Jagannath Temple and will require ASI clearance. Fourth, since Bhubaneshwar airport cannot be upgraded, why not make Puri both a national and international airport. Just a standalone international airport may not give RoI. Amidst conflicting doubts Patnaik remains undeterred. He is going all out for the international airport at Puri and is hopeful that PM Modi will inaugurate it.

Dharmendra Pradhan Likely To Contest 2024 Lok Sabha Poll From Odisha

Finally after months of dilly dallying BJP’s Odisha poster boy Dharmendra Pradhan has put to rest speculations about his political future. Now, it is loud and clear that he is not in the race for Odisha Chief Minister’s post if by chance BJP wins the assembly election. Reportedly, Pradhan has managed to convince the party high command to allow him to contest the 2024 Lok Sabha poll from Dhenkanal his native place or Sambalpur, a BJP’s stronghold. But for Pradhan contesting from Dhenkanal, his home turf is not going to be a cake walk since both the Lok Sabha seat and its seven Assembly seats have been won by BJD. In fact, Dhenkanal Lok Sabha seat has been with BJD from 2004 onward and in 2019 general election BJP found itself no match to BJD’s major swing in assembly election. And in Dhenkanal Lok Sabha election BJD candidate Mahesh Sahoo defeated BJP’s Rudra Narayan Pany by a margin of over 35,000 votes. If BJP decides to allocate Sambalpur seat to Pradhan then it would mean end of the road for the controversial sitting MP Nitish Gangadeb. On the other hand, Sambalpur Lok Sabha and its Assembly constituency seems to be a safer bet since BJP won Lok Sabha and three Assembly seats in 2019. However, what seems to be going against Pradhan is his track record of not having fought a direct election since 2009.
Saumya_Naveen patnaik

Sacked BJD MLA Soumya Ranjan Knocks On BJP’s Door?

The sacking of party MLA Soumya Ranjan Patnaik by BJD President Naveen Patnaik followed by EOW raid on his publication Sambad for alleged fraud and forgery on salary slips of 350 employees is Patnaik’s signal  to all his partymen — do not criticize party’s decisions publicly.  Ranjan says he is being victimised for speaking his mind. Political sources say, Soumya had indeed crossed the partyline when he openly endorsed BJP MP’s Aparijita Sarangi’s point of view criticizing district tours of Patnaik’s Secretary VK Pandian using helicopters which were expensive. The Odisha CM had defended and justified Pandian’s expenses in the State assembly. Soumya is no green horn in politics; he has completed the political circuit beginning with Congress, then joined BJP, flirted with NCP, then returned to Congress only to be expelled in 2012. Post that he set up his own political party ‘Ama Odisha’ and then joined BJD in 2018 and was nominated as Rajya Sabha MP. In the 2019 assembly election he was elected MLA from Khandapada constituency. Here too, his honeymoon was short lived, he was expelled in 2023 for anti-party activities. Now it is learnt that Soumya has met the home minister Amit Shah in Delhi. But, the moot point is will BJP entertain him this time?
naveen pandian

Patnaik Puts BJP, Congress Leaders On The Backfoot, Justifies Extensive Use Of Helicopter By His Private Secretary

After listening to various charges levelled against his private secretary for months, the Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik finally decided to give it back to the state BJP and Congress leaders during the monsoon session. The Opposition leaders have constantly been raising the issue of how come an IAS officer VK Pandian is using the state machinery – helicopter — to travel across the state to meet the general public and understand their grievances. This should be done by BJD’s elected leaders, they said. Patnaik, who generally maintains a low profile, finally spoke his mind in the House stating that Pandian was going across the state meeting people door-to-door as he headed the CM’s Grievance Cell. He said as per his direction, during the last six months officers from the CMO visited all the districts covering over 190 locations and in the process collected 57,442 petitions. Of this, 43,536 petitions have been resolved or disposed of. Naveen clarified “this is one of the biggest and most effective peoples’ grievances redressal exercise undertaken by any government in the country thereby justifying extensive use of helicopter service by Pandian and his men. It would have taken one and half years to do the same exercise by road. The Odisha chief minister further clarified that his government was paying the usual market rate Rs 1-1.5 crore a month for hiring helicopters.
jaynarayan mishra

Odisha Chief Minister & His Private Secretary May Face Jail Term If BJP Voted To Power, Says Mishra

Odisha’s Leader of Opposition Jayanarayan Mishra says if his party (BJP) is voted to power in the state then there is a chance that Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik and his secretary VK Pandian will face jail term. It is indeed a sweeping statement and a reckless one feel seasoned political observers. Patnaik’s track record has been impeccable and he has indeed transformed the state. But what is getting Opposition leaders’ goat is the unbridled power enjoyed by Patnaik’s private secretary Pandian, who many say rides roughshod. Mishra says, IAS Secretary Pandian who hails from a poor family from Tamil Nadu has amassed huge wealth in Odisha. He also charged him favouring Tamil Nadu contractors over the state’s local contractors. Mishra dropped a bombshell saying the killing of BJD’s minister Naba Das was a state sponsored murder. Going further, he even made a more provocative statement stating that “If BJP is voted to power in 2024 both chief minister Patnaik and his private secretary Pandian may face jail term.” Political watchers say given Naveen babu’s bonhomie with Modi these kinds of threats are kite flying, merely to boost the morale of local BJP cadres. Meanwhile, Patnaik is unfazed saying “double engine doesn’t matter, good governance wins” thereby justifying why Odias vote for his party BJD again and again.
Soumya ranjan patnaik letter

Naveen Patnaik Drops Media Baron From BJD’s Vice President Post, Creates Ripples In Odisha

The recent sacking of Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, editor of Odisha’s largest daily Sambad from Biju Janata Dal’s vice president position by supremo Naveen Patnaik has sent a clear signal to party leaders — behave appropriately or face consequences. What does this mean in clear terms? Do not challenge BJD supremo’s decision with regard to governance mechanism or question his decision to bestow powers to his trusted bureaucrat VK Pandian with regards to holding state wide meetings. IAS officer Pandian’s rise has been severely questioned not only from his party members but also BJP’s MP Aparajita Sarangi. Reportedly, BJD MLA and media baron Soumya Ranjan Patnaik was extremely critical of the money spent by Pandian on his state wide tour; he equated the spent with that Chandrayaan-3’s budget. Calling spade a spade in journalistic parlance makes sense but not so in the political world. Media baron Patnaik’s future seems uncertain. He however seems well prepared since he has made the complete circuit Congress to BJP and now BJD. Will BJP welcome him back is the billion rupee question everybody is asking.

BJP Raises Controversial Lord Jagannath Temple Audit Issue To Embarrass Patnaik Govt

Politics makes strange bedfellows. At the national level, the Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik is supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government but in his own state, his party BJD and BJP are locked in a bitter battle every day. With the news that Patnaik government may hold an Assembly election by December 2023 instead of 2024, the local BJP unit has gone on overdrive and raised the controversial Lord Jagannath’s ‘Ratna Bhandar’ issue. It is asking why no audit has been done since 1985? BJP’s senior BJP leader Sameer Mohanty has moved the Odisha High Court seeking information for updated inventory of Lord Jagannath’s ‘Ratna Bhandar’ and also make public the Judicial Commission report of 2018 which probed the disappearance of the 12th-century treasury key. It is learnt that Srimandir Managing Committee has submitted sketchy details of jewellery inside the vault but full audited details are missing. Interestingly, the Archaeological Survey Of India controlled by the Centre has seen a change of guard. And the new head is pushing the temple officials vis a vis the state government for various information. Patnaik government knows that with the Assembly elections scheduled this year, the Lord Jagannath issue could cause political damage. Perhaps this is the reason why it has sought time till July 2024 from both the ASI and High Court to furnish all information. Smart move as by this time both the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections will be over.

Why Is Odisha Chief Minister Betting Big On Semiconductor Industry

The Odisha government headed by Naveen Patnaik is now focusing on investments beyond steel, aluminium and mining sector. Being an election year, Patnaik is going all out to give a big push to the semiconductor chip business that represents the heartbeat of modern digital economy. Towards this Patnaik’s government has formulated a new policy to ensure that at least one semiconductor manufacturing unit and 100 fabless design companies will land in the state. This initiative is expected to create around 5,000 direct job opportunities and 20,000 indirect employment over a period of seven years. Government sources confirm that Odisha chief minister has already got on board the London-based SRAM & MRA Group to set up the semiconductor unit in Ganjam district with an investment outlay of Rs30,000 crore in Phase 1. The US-based Silicon Power Corporation has also agreed to invest Rs 1,000 crore over next 18-24 months. Meanwhile Odisha’s IT minister with his entourage are camping in the US to woo more investors into the state. Political observers say “with state elections round the corner Patnaik is moving the political needle in the right direction bringing in investment, employment and revenue”.  Looks like Patnaik is already in election mode.
Naveen Patnaik_010

Is Odisha Chief Minister Planning To Dissolve Assembly And Hold Early Elections This Year?

For the last few months the rumours have been flying thick and fast that the Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik may dissolve the state Assembly and go in for an early polls by end of this year instead of 2024. In fact, BJP minister and CM contender Dharmendra Pradhan seems to have got the whiff of it a few months back as he too was talking about it. Now, Patnaik’s party the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) seems to have confirmed it. “There may be an early Assembly polls in Odisha alongside other states,” said BJD’s vice president Devi Prasad Mishra. This explains why recently the Finance Department of Odisha has written a letter to all ministries to submit their budget by end July 2023 so as to be ready for an early election. Political watchers say, Naveen babu knows how to take the wind out of the Opposition sail from time to time. He is the master of the game and both Congress and BJP are nowhere near him at least in Odisha. Patnaik’s transformational drive has impressed and endeared himself to 4.8 crore people of Odisha. It is learnt that only deserving MLAs will be given tickets so as to arrest anti-incumbency factor. The moot point is will BJP be able to make inroads in Odisha this time?

Now BJP, Cong Join Hands To Attack Odisha Chief Minister’s Trusted Bureaucrat Pandian

BJP MP Aparijita Sarangi, BJP President Manmohan Samal and Congress Campaign Committee Chairman Bijay Patnaik have been attacking Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s most trusted IAS officer V Kartikeyan Pandian. They have lodged a formal complaint saying Pandian has hijacked the entire governance system in Odisha by doing the work of politically elected legislature, violating service rules. Biju Janata Dal leaders say both BJP and Congress have plumbed to new depths with their attacks. Consequently the DoPT under the Union government has sent a notice to Odisha Chief Secretary urging an inquiry into the matter. BJP’s Manmohan Samal said “Pandian cannot do two jobs being 5T secretary and do politics as it cannot be delegated.” BJD in its defence says, “This is not delegation of power by the chief minister to Pandian, but delegation of work.”  Political analysts say DoPT letter to Chief Secretary is only a forwarding letter, if BJP was serious they would have summoned Pandian to Delhi. Those who are familiar with Patnaik will say he is a shrewd and discerning politician who knows the impact and implications when he is empowering bureaucrats. This apart, Naveen also knows how to show the door to persons whose time has come just as he did with Pyari Mohan Mohapatra.
Patnaik pandian

Odisha CM’s Over-Dependence On Bureaucrat Pandian Draws BJP Fire

Taking a dig at PM Narendra Modi, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik recently quipped “double engine government is not important, what’s important is good governance”.  Irked by this statement BJP’s bureaucrat-turned-MP Aparijita Sarangi shot back at Patnaik’s government by targeting CM’s right hand man and private secretary, V Karthikeyan Pandian who is also 5T Secretary (5T stands for Team work, Technology, Transparency, Transformation and Time limit). Patnaik who depends on bureaucrats to fulfil his commitment given to people has given IAS officer Pandian the carte blanche to clear strategic and administrative issues so much so that the elected leaders play a subservient role. Sarangi alleged how people’s mandate to govern Odisha has been hijacked by a 5T bureaucrat who takes all the decisions as a single window clearance, making elected BJD representatives helpless.  For Patnaik empowering bureaucrats to execute his vision is not new. He had done this earlier with late bureaucrat-turned-politician Pyarimohan Mohapatra who became so powerful as Patnaik’s advisor that he planned a coup to dethrone the CM. Now, Pandian seems to be enjoying CM’s confidence.

Power Outages In Bhubaneswar, Cuttack: Is Underground Cabling System The Solution?

The BJD-run government in Odisha headed by Naveen Patnaik has come in for harsh criticisms for frequent power outages in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack that too in peak summer. This ‘off-and-on blackout’ is happening even after the private sector Tata Power took over the management of power distribution in Odisha. It is learnt that the main reason for the power outage is because Odisha does not have an underground cabling system as is prevalent in most States. Here, the high tension cables are on a pole which snaps when there is a cyclone or heat wave. It would be hard to imagine, Patnaik who is trying to transform Odisha at a rapid pace is not able to fix such a basic problem. Incidentally, Bhubaneswar has the tag of smart city. Everybody is asking, if this is the plight of a smart city then one could well imagine the plight of other cities of the state. Well, as expected the Opposition parties led by the BJP have squarely blamed the BJD-run government stating that it has no control over Tata Power. However, power experts say blaming Tata Power is not a solution. Patnaik’s government needs to explore the expensive option of laying down underground electric cable.  It is understood that Odisha’s chief secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena is closely examining the viability of laying down underground cable in the smart city to start with.

BJP’s CM Face In Odisha: Dharmendra Pradhan Or Aparajita Sarangi?

With the 2024 election not far away, the chorus to name chief minister aspirant for BJP in Odisha is growing. Also, there is a concern what will be the role of BJP Minister Dharmendra Pradhan come 2024 Odisha election. So far, Pradhan has exhibited indecisiveness where he wants to be — State or the Centre. He has chosen to keep all options open. This is because he knows there is little chance of his dislodging Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in the Odisha 2024 state election. Sources say, Pradhan who is currently a Rajya Sabha member from MP is most likely to file for Lok Sabha seat in Odisha from Dhenkanal or Sambalpur area. Factoring the possibility of BJP faring well in Odisha, Dharmendra is toying with the idea of fielding his wife Mridula in the Assembly election either from Pallahara or Talcher in Odisha, offering him another opportunity for power play in Odisha. Now coming to the question, who will be the CM face of BJP in Odisha in the 2024 election? Two names are doing the rounds – one is that of Pradhan and the other one is Modi’s favourite vocal ex-IAS officer Aparijita Sarangi, a BJP MP from Bhubaneswar. Aparajita remains unstoppable though there was an earlier attempt to restrict her movement to her constituency Bhubaneswar. Today she remains unbridled holding meetings and campaigns beyond her assigned territories covering Bhadrakh, Nilagiri, Kendrapada and others.

Post Balasore Triple Train Tragedy, Railway Minister Orders Pan India Rail Safety Audit

With the Opposition parties gunning for Ashwin Vaishnaw’s scalp over Balasore’s triple train tragedy, the Railway Minister has now ordered a high level safety audit inquiry for the entire railway network across the country. The objective is to ensure that the rail network is tamper proof beyond the reach of unauthorized human elements. Those who have served senior positions in the Indian Railways say that the suave Railway minister known to deliver on his commitments wants to let the public at large know that the Railways work culture will be much better than they are today. Vaishnaw in his own inimitable style is firing on all cylinders to address the railway safety issues. His immediate meeting with the Railway Board after returning from Odisha spelling out his work expectations has set the ball rolling across the rank and file of railway employees across the country. The Railway Board chairman held a meeting with all general managers and divisional railway managers communicating what needs to be done on a range of activities which will prevent such big accidents.
Patnaik modi nitish

Patnaik’s Two Birds With A Stone Strategy, Meets PM In Delhi

When the Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik flew to Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi after a gap of nearly one year on May 11, many political watchers were trying to decode the visit. Naturally. The visit came close on the heels of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar visiting Bhubaneshwar to coax Patnaik to join the Opposition brigade. Patnaik gave the answer that Biju Janata Dal will go solo in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. In a way of extracting a price for staying neutral, Patnaik asked the Modi government to support the Rs 5600-crore greenfield airport project — Shree Jagannath International Airport at Puri. The state government has already identified 1,200 acres of land in Sipasarubali for the airport. Naveen knows that having announced the ambitious project, there is no turning back. BJD supremo is aware of the reality where the impediment lies. Without Modi’s endorsement and cabinet approval the airport will be a non-starter as there is an obstacle in a little portion of the proposed airport as it comes under forest area and this requires MOEFC CRZ clearance for the commencement of construction and operation from the Centre. Patnaik’s Delhi visit is a gentle reminder to PM to help Odisha for remaining equidistant political party and silently supporting BJP at the centre all these years. Come to think of it, Patnaik has killed two birds with a stone.
Jagannath temple

Big Relief To Odisha CM In Lord Jagannath Temple Case

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik and his party Biju Janata Dal have reasons to smile as the Lord Jagannath temple issue regarding embezzlement allegations does not fall under the purview of the Supreme Court. So as of now, BJD is off the hook of the Apex Court supervision. The allegations were made by the Opposition parties — BJP and Congress — over Jagannath Ratna Bhandar donations which have not been audited since 1978. A Supreme Court lawyer handling the case explained that amicus curiae Ranjit Kumar brought to the notice of Justices M R Shah and C T Kumar of the Supreme Court that the action taken report of the Temple Management Committee is deficient in as much as the November 2019 order of the SC directing it to file the inventory of jewellery. Justice Shah in a lighter vein said “we do not want to make such a direction and invite any mishappening/misfortune on ourselves or on those appearing in the matter. It is a sacred place and we do not find any reason to pass such a direction. Essentially he said, “SC judicial determination is not required in this kind of matter”. Further Justice Shah, off the record, said that he was born on the day of Rath Yatra and “has the blessings of Lord Jagannath”. Clearly, SC implied that the temple issue is not a national issue it falls under the purview of the High Court.  
Bijay patnaik

Odisha’s Ex-Chief Secretary Joining Congress Surprises Everybody

Odisha government’s former chief secretary Bijay Kumar Patnaik has surprised everybody by joining the Congress party. Patnaik who served in public service for 37 years worked closely with the Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik. He advised the CM on all matters of policy and administration. For his proximity to CM he was appointed chairman of the Odisha Staff Selection Commission and Member of Human Rights Commission, post retirement in 2013. This close connection with the CM saw him landing a job as president of Vedanta University promoted by Anil Agarwal. He quit the job as the project was a non-starter.  In December 2022 with Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra peaking he thought it prudent to take a political plunge by joining Congress. Observers say his yearnings to stay relevant explains why he has preferred to become a full time politician by joining Odisha Congress formally.  No sooner he joined the Congress, Bijay Patnaik started lashing out at BJD, accusing it of poor governance and rampant corruption. The questions political analysts are asking: Can Bijay Patnaik give a big push to Congress in the state and push its ranking to the second place displacing BJP?  Not an easy task but Congress could see marginal improvements in electoral scoring is the general feeling.
Jay Panda

Jay Panda’s Recce Of Kendrapada Constituency Raises Eyebrows

BJP’s National Vice President, the 59-year old Baijayant Jay Panda has been hitting headlines in Odisha dailies for his quick visit to Kendrapada constituency. Many look at this visit as a reaffirmation that BJP may give 2024 Lok Sabha ticket to Panda from this constituency which he lost to BJD in 2019 polls. This suave, articulate ex-MP was elected four times on Biju Janata Dal ticket – twice to Lok Sabha, twice to Rajya Sabha. But, fell out of favour with chief minister Naveen Patnaik for his alleged anti-party activities and was suspended. Peeved, he joined BJP in 2019. A CM aspirant, many felt Panda, by joining BJP, would raise the profile of the party in Odisha but that was not to be. Ironically, he lost his Kendrapada seat to BJD’s film-star-turned-politician Anubhab Mohanty. For author, columnist Panda who has the statesman like presence, the formidable BJD base in Odisha poses a massive challenge because Odisha people continue to love Modi but via Naveen Patnaik.
Patnaik odisha

Mission Mode: After Steel, Sports Odisha Chief Minister Bets Big On Semiconductor & IT Sectors

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik seems to be on a mission mode to transform his state. After steel and sports, now his government is betting big on semiconductor and information technology sectors. Patnaik is keen to make Odisha the next semiconductor hub. His immediate objective of the chip strategy is to train Odisha’s 85,000 qualified engineers in the areas of IT integration and embedded system design. To make this happen, the Odisha government has chalked an investment plan of Rs 30,000 crore to set up eastern India’s first FAB unit on 40-acre land near Bhubaneswar. Well known UK-based solutions provider SRAM and MRAM, has been roped in to get the projects off the ground. Post Covid-19 pandemic there has been severe chip shortages and this has severely affected car productions globally. This new plant at Odisha should become part of the global supply chain. The investment could run up to Rs 2 lakh crore over a period of time. It is understood that the SRAM & MRAM conglomerate will rope in global biggies to invest in this project. Odisha has numerous advantages like land availability, power, water and next door ports.

SC Rejects 7000 Acres Land Acquisition Move By Odisha Govt For Vedanta University

Soon after returning from Japan, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has been facing the heat from the Opposition parties. This relates to Supreme Court upholding Odisha High Court ruling of 2010 cancelling 7,000 acres of land acquisition by the state government for Vedanta Foundation citing irregularities of land acquisition process. The top court said the Odisha government played favourites with Anil Agarwal overlooking bio-diversity, ecology, sustainability aspects of land acquisition. Congress announced a six days agitation demanding CM’s resignation. BJP’s Sambit Patra said the SC verdict is a serious concern. BJD countered Patra by saying Manmohan Samal, BJP’s Odisha President who was state revenue minister between 2004 and 2008 when BJD -BJP were coalition partners was when the Vedanta project conceived. BJD also said the university project was conceived by then higher education minister Samir Dey who is now a BJP leader. BJD said infighting within BJP has started with Sambit Patra exposing fellow BJP leader Manmohan Samal.  Meanwhile, BJD’s own Lok Sabha MP Bhartruhari Mahtab has joined the Opposition chorus demanding CBI investigation into the fake certificate racket since the state crime branch has not delivered results so far.

After Karnataka-Maharashtra Now Boundary War Erupts Between Odisha-Andhra, SC To Decide

The boundary issue between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh has reached a flash point.  It could become a big election issue in 2024. The matter revolves around Kotia group of 21 villages in remote Koraput district bordering AP. The issue is about bizarre administrative overlaps not experienced anywhere else in the country. Kotia has two elected sarpanches, and two land pattas and two voter identity cards representing both Odisha and AP governments respectively. Both state governments are competing with each other to flood Kotia tribals with welfare measures including subsidized food grains. Besides, the school going children are split into Odisha Aganwadi Oriya schools and AP funded Telugu schools. So much so that people are confused about which is their home state. AP government is building documentary evidence to stake claim on more Odisha villages. To stop this inconclusive fight, the Odisha government moved the Supreme Court which has given 28 days to both the governments to explain their positions. The pressure is now on AP to prove their innocence. Meanwhile the politicians sensing a great opportunity are playing to the gallery. Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan who hails from Odisha has escalated the matter with the prime minister. But with matters in the Apex Court everybody has to wait and watch.
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Why Are BJP And Congress Upset Over Odisha Chief Minister’s Japan Sojourn

It seems Odisha politics is getting murkier by the day thanks to BJP and Congress. Both these Opposition parties are trying their best to derail the Biju Janata Dal government headed by the popular chief minister Naveen Patnaik. Towards this, they are punching holes into everything Patnaik is doing, even if it is in the best interest of the state. Take for instance, Patnaik visited Japan recently and managed to get an investment commitment of Rs 26,000 crore from that country. Instead of supporting his move, both the BJP & Congress have criticized Naveen babu’s Japan business visit as a “vacation trip”. For them, Patnaik should have prioritized border issues with Andhra Pradesh since it has intruded into Kotia which belongs to Odisha. Business investment apart, Naveen has successfully touched Japan’s spiritual heart beckoning Buddhist pilgrimage to visit Dhaulagiri, Ratnagiri, Lalitgiri. Most Japanese investors have welcomed Patnaik’s direct approach which ended mindless bureaucracy. Surely, the Opposition parties could not digest Patnaik donning the mantle of economic ambassador of Odisha and sweeping in positive Japanese investment proposals which has electoral voting consequences. Even cynics admit that under Patnaik’s leadership, Odisha is fast transforming that will finally result in raising the standard of living of its nearly 5 crore people.

Odisha CM’s ‘Namaste Japan’ Strategy Takes Wind Out Of Opposition’s Sail

Fed up with the daily bout of mindless criticisms by the Opposition parties vis a vis negative media publicity, saw Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik delivering another masterstroke that would endear him to 4.5 crore people of his state. The 76-year seasoned politician along with his key ministers and bureaucrats flew into Japan to close a multi-million dollar deal which would generate employment and economically transform his state.  Taking his third overseas business trip in the last 23 years, Naveen babu has managed to convince Japan’s Nippon Steel Corporation to set up the world’s largest steel plant in Kendrapara and Paradeep beating South Korea’s Posco involving an investment of Rs 142,000 cr. The setting of this steel plant will see that Odisha emerges as the steel export hub of the world. The investment commitment from Japan could not have come at a better time. It also indicates that like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even Odisha chief minister is thinking about the state 24×7. Besides, Nippon the CM’s high level delegation held parleys with Marubeni Corporation and Avaada to explore opportunities in green hydrogen and green ammonia sectors in Odisha. Patnaik is also eyeing the potential of Buddhist and eco- tourism.  Come to think of it, Patnaik has mastered the art of putting the money where his mouth is, little wonder he is one of the popular chief ministers in the country.

Odisha CM Aspirant Dharmendra Pradhan Attacks CM’s Governance Style, Patnaik Returns Fire

Of late, the Union petroleum minister is camping most days in his home state Odisha. Not without reason. He is aspiring to become the next chief minister of the state. For that BJP has to romp home by turfing out a well-entrenched Biju Janata Dal government headed by Naveen Patnaik. Pradhan has fired the first salvo by branding Odisha as lawless state and lodged a formal complaint with the state governor Ganesh Lal. The accusation of Pradhan has to be viewed against the backdrop of the upcoming bypoll to be held at Jharsuguda assembly on May 10 and the General Elections in 2024. He is setting the political tone. This explains why a narrative is being built against the Patnaik government by both the BJP and Congress with regard to the unsolved murder case of Naba Kishore Das, a minister from BJD government and the recent murder of a 15-year old boy in poll bound Jharsuguda. Patnaik, says the murder issue is under investigation and has dismissed BJP allegations as self-serving political gains without any substance. Patnaik asks, if Odisha is a lawless state, how come the state continues to corner highest investments, make record industrial production, conducts major world scale events, maintains communal harmony and continues to win elections. Patnaik told Pradhan “Don’t insult Odisha for your petty political narrative”.
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Naveen Patnaik’s Direct International Flight Plans To Protect Global Investment

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik is pulling out all stops to transform his state at double quick time. The latest news from the state is the commencement of direct international flights, three times a week, round trip Bhubaneswar-Dubai beginning in April. This move is part of Naveen’s larger plan to catch the huge swath of the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia and Japan markets to boost Odisha’s industrial growth, tourism and in the process create job opportunities. The immediate objective behind fast tracking direct international flights is to protect the Rs 21,000 cr investment proposals received from Dubai-Middle East and North African markets during the ‘Make in Odisha Investment Meet’ in Dubai last year. This explains why Patnaik government has agreed to invest Rs 100 cr towards Indigo Airlines viability funding including reduction of VAT in Aviation Turbine Fuel for direct international flights commencing from Bhubaneswar to Dubai. According to Prasanna Pradhan, Director, Bhubaneswar Airport the old Bhubaneswar airport is being refurbished to make it ready by end March 2023 and he expects ticket sales for Dubai to commence from April 1, 2023.  Eventually, Indigo has plans to operate direct flights between Bhubaneswar-Bangkok and Singapore.

Patnaik’s Governance Style Of Empowering Bureaucrats Draws Flak From Ministers, Opposition Leaders

It is no secret that Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has successfully run the state with a clutch of hand-picked trusted bureaucrats. These bureaucrats are so well entrenched that senior ministers take instructions regarding line of action or policy decisions from them. That’s Naveen babu’s style of empowerment. The continuance of bureaucratic top down decision-making has come with a price, a few days ago thereby forging unity amongst Opposition parties. The issue pertains to Odisha Housing Minister Usha Devi who was clueless about immediate cabinet decisions pertaining to her own department where she said she will check with the Principal Secretary while addressing the Media. The minister’s self-confession brought in a barrage of criticism over Patnaik’s style of running Odisha wherein the Cabinet Ministers are clueless about their own ministries. BJP Leader of Opposition Jaynarayan Mishra said “It is pathetic to see senior ministers standing in front of bureaucrats with folded hands for a darshan only to be heard.” BJD says, here lies Naveen’s unique brand of managing politics converging the think tank mind of bureaucrats and the party leaders working together assuring Odisha’s growth and development. The government and the bureaucrats complement each other where the CM’s work performance speaks for itself.
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Sex Scandal Case Rocks Odisha Assembly, Chief Minister Patnaik Maintains Stoic Silence

When Odisha’s high profile film producer Akshay Parija played the victim card in the sensational honey trap scandal, filing a police complaint for extortion, he possibly had no idea how his action would implicate BJD and embarrass Naveen Patnaik’s government. Odisha Assembly is now rocking with BJP and Congress questioning BJD’s hand in this sex scandal racket. BJP says Patnaik’s government is trying to protect the culprits as a cover up since his own party members were involved. Congress legislature party leader Narasingha Mishra is now demanding Naveen babu’s resignation on the controversial honey-trap issue implicating senior BJD members in the sex racket. Clearly, BJD is in a tight spot because ED is now looking into the money laundering aspect of blackmailing by Archana Nag and her husband Jagabandhu Chand which has the possibility to expose influential BJD politicians of their intimate moments. Naveen’s stoic silence on controversial issues involving BJD politicians is sending a signal that Naveen is too embarrassed to admit follies. The opposition is also saying that ED’s powerful noose on BJD’s misdeeds is already evident, wherein, the Commissionerate Of Police had let off suspects but ED reversed CoP’s earlier decision and arrested the suspects. Again, BJD’s Dhenkanal MLA Sudhir Samal’s brother Gangadhar, who owns a car showroom, deposed before the ED recently. He was grilled for suspicious financial transactions worth around Rs 35 lakh with accused Archana. As of now Patnaik’s BJD is on the backfoot.

Odisha’s Gopalpur Locals Oppose Smartchem's Ammonium Nitrate Plant On Environment Concerns

The familiar battle ground again haunts Odisha just like successful opposition to the National Test Range at Baliapal in 1980’s. The villagers at Gopalpur and its neighbouring six panchayats fearing impact of pollution have collectively decided not to allow Smartchem Technologies Ltd to set up a 377 KTPA ammonium nitrate plant at Tata Steel Industrial Park. Smartchem Technologies is a 100% subsidiary of Deepak Fertilisers & Petrochemicals. The villagers are asking what guarantee the company can give to assure that there will be no accidents at SEZ Gopalpur. There are examples galore worldwide of explosions because of poor storage and handling of ammonium nitrate. According to locals, the company has done very little to educate the local people about the robustness of their hazard handling process and thereby allay their fears. Though the government promoting chemicals is part of industrial development strategy, villagers are determined not to allow hazardous chemicals in their area and are asking to replace it with environmentally-friendly industries instead. With assembly elections due in 2024 the Odisha government headed by Naveen Patnaik may not want to take a chance and is trying to find the middle path in the best interest of all stakeholders. Surely, for Petrochem major Deepak Fertiliser which was ready to invest Rs 2200 crore via its subsidiary this is a temporary setback.

Can BJD Put Dhamnagar Defeat Behind To Win Padampur By-Election?

The mood at BJP Odisha HQ is upbeat after winning the recently held Dhamnagar by-election. The party is hoping to repeat the feat in the Padampur by-election to be held on December 5. Smarting under the defeat Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal is also taking no chances. It plans to replicate BJP’s sympathy wave strategy in Padampur with the hope of securing women and youth votes. BJD is fielding 29-year old highly qualified Barsha Singh Bariha, elder daughter of the late BJD MLA Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha. Besides, to woo voters BJD has promised to accord district status to Padampur by carving it out of Bargarh district. The BJD government has already announced a slew of projects worth Rs 488 crore for Padampur before election dates were announced which shows its thorough preparedness. It has also inducted politician Raju Ghibela into its fold as he had earlier polled 2% of total vote in the last election as an Independent candidate. If Barsha wins, BJD will make history. This is because Padampur has a history of not voting the same party for two successive terms. BJD had won Padampur seat in 2000, 2009 and 2019 while BJP’s Pradip Purohit lost by a margin of 5,734 votes last time, while Congress finished third. Looks like BJD is determined to rewrite history at Padampur. All eyes on December 8 results.
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BJP Halts BJD’s Winning Spree In Odisha, Wrest Prestigious Dhamnagar Seat From BJD

In Odisha BJP finally managed to check BJD’s by-poll winning spree since 2019 by winning the prestigious Dhamnagar by-election. It won by a margin of 9,881 votes. Biju Janata Dal supremo Naveen Patnaik said he was not surprised by BJD’s loss. “I always respect the verdict of the people. We expected that BJP would win this by-election” said Patnaik. Why did BJD fail in Dhamnagar by-election when it was predicted to win by a margin of 30,000 votes? Analysts say, one, BJD’s strategy of playing women empowerment card, by fielding Abanti Das failed to counter BJP’s sympathy waves. BJP’s Suryabanshi managed to retain his father’s seat, though more women exercised their franchise this time. Two, possibly BJD’s women card failed to make an impact due to low voter turnout. Three, for BJD it was a self-goal, as it first promised former MLA Rajendra Das of a ticket then changed it at the last moment by nominating a new comer Abanti Das. This created internal dissension and mistrust. BJD also failed to prevail upon Rajendra Das to withdraw from the election race as an Independent. He polled 8,153 votes denting BJD’s vote share and finally making BJP win. Dhamnagar election debacle is a wakeup call for Naveen babu whether he should pursue experiments with women empowerment or rely on the tried and tested politicians to win the election race.
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Odisha Sand Artist Pattnaik Faces Flak For His Rishi Sunak Portrait Resembling Tony Blair

Odisha-based internationally acclaimed sand artist and Padma Shri Awardee Sudarsan Pattnaik seems to be grabbing headlines in the UK for all the wrong reasons. Pattnaik like most Indians was excited with the Indian origin Rishi Sunkak becoming the Prime Minister of UK. So, in his own inimitable style he paid tribute to Sunak by creating a sand portrait of Rishi Sunak on the Puri beach. This creation came in for heavy criticism from the British media which stated that the renowned sand artist Pattnaik has gone wrong in depicting Rishi Sunak; he looked very much like the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Sudarsan is indeed apologetic. He told The Independent, UK which he has uploaded on his Twitter handle “My only intention was to draw Mr Sunak to congratulate him. It was a proud moment for me to witness the historic moment of an Indian origin man becoming prime minister of the UK like many Indians.”  Also, what propelled Pattnaik to draw Sunak was his personal connection with Sunak’s mother-in-law Sudha Murthy who had encouraged him in his initial years. Sudarsan laments the fact that his good intention has created unnecessary controversy but he will make up for it by creating another one, and make it look more accurate.
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Naveen Patnaik Banks On Women’s Group To Wrest Dhamnagar Seat From BJP

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) finally named Abanti Das to contest the Dhamnagar by-election to be held on November 3. Abanti Das, Mission Shakti specialist, is very actively involved with women Self Help Groups around Odisha. Political analysts say once again chief minister Naveen Patnaik has played his card well by focussing on women voters to win the prestigious seat left vacant with the untimely death of BJP MLA Bishnu Charan Sethi. BJD is positive of Abanti Das because she is a fresh face and that fits into BJD’s strategy of giving breaks to newcomers. Also, BJD did not want to repeat the mistake of fielding a candidate which would trigger internal fights and give advantage to BJP like it did in 2019. This explains why BJD did not opt for its former two MLA’s Rajendra Kumar Das and Muktakanta Mandal as they are constantly at loggerheads. But, Patnaik’s move has not gone well with the former BJD MLA Rajendra Das. He has defied BJD supremo by filing nomination as an independent candidate. Abanti Das is the chairperson of Tihidi block at Bhadrakh who has vast experience in Mission Shakti. BJD is counting on her vote mobilisation networking abilities to win the by-poll election. BJD sources say “winning this time is expected, since BJD has won all the by-polls conducted since 2019”.
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Patnaik Takes Wind Out Of The Opposition Sail By Launching Mission Millet

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik is forever thinking of newer and newer ways to connect with his voters as he is keen to transform their lives. The latest programme unveiled by him is Odisha Millet Mission that will touch the lives of 95-lakh plus tribals in the state. Of course, these tribals will play a big role in the 2024 Assembly elections. Many in the opposition grudgingly admit that Mission Millet is a game changer.  Realizing its potential — nutritional advantage and as political currency — the Odisha government has already declared November 10 as Mandia Dibas. Political observers say, it is Patnaik’s masterstroke by focussing on a single big constituency comprising tribals it will yield big dividends.  Now, the state government is going all out to promote millet cultivation in a big way in both the tribal and non-tribal districts. It is learnt that the state government now plans to extend millet coverage to 142 blocks in 19 districts. Naveen babu who believes in his work speaking for him has constantly advised his ministers and party workers to “talk less, let the work speak for itself”. Looks like his mantra is working as the Odisha people are quite favourably listening to millet’s wellness advantage. So as of now it is Advantage BJD.
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Archana Nag and Jagabandhu Chand

Sex Scandal Cutting Across Parties Rocks Odisha

The casting couch allegations made against Odisha’s NRI film producer Akshay Parija by an aspiring 23 year old actress has now turned into a nightmare for high profile politicians, businessmen and celebrities. Akshay Parija filed a retaliatory police complaint accusing the 27-year old Archana Nag as the mastermind stating he was “honey trapped”. When the police raided Archana’s luxury apartment in the heart of Bhubaneshwar from where she and her husband Jagabandhu Chand  ran a high profile prostitution racket, they stumbled upon photos of top BJD, BJP and Congress leaders in compromising position. The sex racket has opened a Pandora’s box. Congress leader Suresh Rautray has urged the chief minister to take stringent action against Archana and her husband for blackmailing and extorting money from several prominent personalities including political biggies of Odisha. Police have stumbled upon as many as 64 photos of influential people from Archana’s laptop and this includes two from erstwhile royal families, who are veteran political leaders. Nag who had hired around 20 high-profile sex workers instructed them to always click photographs of prominent personalities in compromising position. Archana has been arrested while her husband is absconding.  “I do not know when, how and who clicked my photo, ” said Law Minister Jagannath Saraka. Similarly, BJP Lok Sabha MP Jual Oram dismissed his link with Archana saying “I do not know the women. As politicians we meet many people where they click selfies and photos. She might have clicked a photo at a public event.”

Can BJD Wrest Odisha’s Prestigious Dhamnagar Assembly Seat From BJP?

Ahead of 2024 election preparation, BJD and BJP in Odisha are all set for high voltage by-election drama to contest Dhamnagar assembly seat on November 3.This decision was necessitated after the recent death of two-time sitting BJP MLA Bishnu Charan Sethi. This win or loss at Dhamnagar by election which as of today is BJP’s citadel, will set the pace for 2024 Lok Sabha elections. BJP is likely to field a member of the Sethi family as it is hopeful that voters will give BJP another chance to fulfill the unfinished task of Sethi who was known as a prolific writer, poet and thinker. However this time, the task for BJP is cut out, given that in 2019 election, BJP’s Sethi had won by thin margin 48% visa-vis BJD 45% votes, while Congress garnered only 4% votes. Interestingly, if one looks at by-election results held in Bijepur, Tirtol, Pipili, Brajrajnagar, Balasore Sadar between between 2019 and 2020 then all seats have been won by the ruling Biju Janata Dal. Leader of opposition Jaya Narayan Mishra representing BJP is hopeful that Sethi’s good reputation will ensure victory at Dhamnagar by-election and BJP will treat this as a practice match ahead of the final match in 2024.
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The Champions of 1975 World Cup Winning Indian Hockey Team on the iconic Kalinga turf

Why Odisha Govt Is Betting Big Time On Indian Hockey Team

Ahead of the 15th edition of the Men’s FIH Hockey World Cup to be played in Odisha from 13 to 29 January 2023, the newly elected Hockey India President, Dilip Tirkey who was India’s erstwhile hockey captain, seems confident of Odisha’s preparedness.  According to Tirkey “Within three months India will be able to correct its identified weaknesses “. Tirkey is also bullish about India improving its competitive positioning during the tournament.  This observation comes from the fact that the Odisha government headed by Naveen Patnaik is obsessed and committed to restore back India’s lost pride of place. India has had no win since 1975 and Patnaik is keen that India reclaim its lost position. This is why his government has invested heavily in creating the world class infrastructure for nursing hockey players and eventually bagging the world cup right to host it in Odisha. Odisha is building India’s largest hockey stadium with 20,000-spectator capacity in Rourkela. According to Tirkey, proven coach and high-performance directors like John David, Edgar Maskar and BJ Kariappa have been roped in to spruce up training and fitness level of players. These three eminent hockey personalities are expected to play a major role in developing the hockey programme of Odisha state making it not just as the primary sponsor of world cup but a major nursery for grooming hockey talents in the country so as to win the World Cup.

Union Minister Vaishnaw Puts Odisha's Fears On 5G At Rest

The Odisha government felt slighted recently when the Union Telecom Ministry did not include Odisha cities with regard to the pilot run of 5G services to be initiated in 2022. These cities, restricted to 13, were chosen on the basis of their economic returns for the telecom operators and on this criteria the entire state of Odisha was left out.  Miffed, several opposition political parties wrote to Union Minister for Railways, Communications, Electronics & Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw over disparity in selection criteria. Vaishnaw, a seasoned bureaucrat turned BJP politician knows that he owes his present position to chief minister Naveen Patnaik who endorsed his candidature to Rajya Sabha on a BJP ticket three years ago. Given his earlier connection with Odisha as an IAS officer, he did not want to be seen as serving narrow political ends with regard to the 5G roll out plan nor create a proverbial storm in a tea cup of ministerial high handedness. This explains why Vaishnaw clarified that Odisha will be included in the 5G first phase launch. His decision to include Odisha in 5G expansion was greeted with jubilation not merely by the Odisha government and people as well.
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Controversial Odiya Star Prakruti Mishra Moves To Mumbai, All Set To Enter Bigg Boss House

If you are controversial, care a damn about public opinion, love having no rules, fond of dramatic fights and outbursts, and a national film award winner, then you certainly qualify to be a Bigg Boss contestant. So it is with Odisha’s controversial film star Prakruti Misra who is all set to enter Bigg Boss-Season 16 which premieres on October 1. So what brings her to Mumbai?  According to Bhubaneshwar film industry gossip Prakruti, who won national award for her Odiya film Arsi, had little choice but to look for greener pastures in Mumbai so as to keep herself away from the recent raging controversy involving her co- star.  It may be recalled that Prakruti was publicly shamed and hit by well-known film actor Babushaan’s wife Trupti Satpathy for allegedly having an affair with her husband. The video of that incident went viral on social media. To redeem her image Prakruti filed a Rs 5-crore defamation suit against Babushaan’s wife Trupti and her father. Besides, Big Boss 16, it is learnt that she will be working on three Bollywood projects, one of which stars Nana Patekar and one Odiya film Draupadi.
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Patnaik Goes All Out To Promote Buddhist Tourism Using State Funds As Centre Not Providing Any

The astute chief minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik is leaving no stones unturned to transform the state.  So be it the economy, sports, culture or religion all areas and sectors are given equal importance. His latest focus is promoting Buddhist Tourism so as to attract both domestic and foreign tourists to Odisha. This drive will boost local employment and support stone artisans famous for carving Buddha murals.  Come October 28, Odisha will celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Dhauli Shanti Stupa also known as Peace Pagoda located in outskirts Bhubaneswar. It is estimated that 150 monks from different parts of the world would join the celebration. The Dhauli Buddhist Stupa built in 1972 was a collaborative effort between Japan Buddha Sangha and Kalinga Buddha Sangha. But, why is the Odisha government going all out to promote Buddhist Tourism? Reportedly, Patnaik is upset that Odisha despite having a rich heritage of Buddhism dating from 6th century to 16th century, spread over 200 sites across the state, was not included as a Buddhist Circuit Project funded by the Union Government. Instead it gave preference to other neighbouring states like Uttar Pradesh. Instead of whining Patnaik thought it prudent to build up Buddhist  circuit tourism through state funds. It is understood that the Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan who hails from Odisha has urged the Union Culture Minister to include Odisha in the Buddhist circuit list. Now one has to wait and watch.

Now A New Twist, Return Kohinoor To Lord Jagannath Demands Odisha Group

With Queen Elizabeth II passing away, the world’s largest cut diamond Kohinoor, and the controversies surrounding it, is once again making news. It began with a group in Odisha tweeting that Kohinoor be returned to India. Kohinoor is one of the largest cut diamonds in the world, weighing 105.6 carats. It is part of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. This demand gathered steam with Odisha’s Shree Jagannath Sena submitting a memorandum to the President Droupadi Murmu seeking her intervention to bring back the controversial prized jewel to Odisha and be placed as the crown of Lord Jagannath. Why Lord Jagannath? In their book, Kohinoor: The Story Of The World’s Most Infamous Diamond written by William Dalrymple and Anita Anand, the authors say that Maharaja Ranjeet Singh of Punjab had indeed willed to donate his Kohinoor crown to Lord Jagannath in consequence of his prayers amidst failing eyesight much before his death in 1839. But the British under Lord Dalhousie following Maharaja Ranjeet Singh’s demise annexed Punjab and shipped the diamond crown to Queen Victoria in 1849. Kohinoor seems like an intellectual, inconclusive, nationalism debate at best.  But the BJP government back in 2014 had buried the Kohinoor controversy to a close saying Kohinoor was gifted to the British crown by Maharaja Duleep Singh.
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Lifetime Achievement Award To Odisha Chief Minister Burns Up BJP, Congress

Looks like both BJP and Congress have not been able to stomach this achievement of the Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. On September 4, Patnaik was conferred the Lifetime Achievement award by the Delhi-based Capital Foundation in recognition of his distinctive and outstanding leadership. The award was presented by former Chief Justice of India NV Ramana in New Delhi.  On his return, a crowd of 50,000 people thronged at Bhubaneswar airport to receive Patnaik and accompany him all the way to his residence, blowing conch shells, choking the lanes and bylanes. So instead of congratulating him both the parties started firing salvos using social media platforms. BJP called upon the Odisha Governor Prof Ganesh Lal to highlight the state’s law and order problems. BJP said “Women and children are not safe in Odisha.” Odisha Congress said “The award is an ordinary one. CM Naveen is doing a drama. People in 2024 will give a befitting reply.”  Reacting to BJP and Congress outbursts, BJD MP Sasmit Patra said “I will not politicise the matter. This award has been rightfully won by CM Naveen Patnaik giving the state 25 years of hard work”. Odisha State Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Pramilla Mallick dismissed it as “BJP’s stunt. They are just trying to prove their presence by doing such politics”.
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Is BJP Daydreaming Of Forming Govt In Odisha?

An eternal optimist, BJP never gives up. Odisha is the state they have been trying to make inroads for quite some time now. But to no avail because of Biju Janata Dal supremo Naveen Patnaik’s strong performance. Recently, the home minister Amit Shah visited Odisha and proclaimed to win 2024 Assembly elections in Odisha even though BJP has been decimated continuously by BJD in panchayat, corporations and assembly elections. But, they don’t give up. They keep rejigging their strategy in the hope it will rule Odisha one day. Recently, BJP recast its party leadership by appointing Sunil Bansal as its key election strategist for Odisha hoping he would replicate UP magic. It also appointed controversial firebrand BJP MLA Jayanarayan Mishra as leader of opposition (LoP) in the Assembly. Jayanarayan considers himself as BJP’s “hanuman” who is determined to lead BJP into power by exposing BJD’s misdeeds. When asked how they were hoping to defeat the BJD supremo who won election five times, a confident four-time MLA Jayanarayan says “Naveen’s style is bound to fail someday.” Political observers say, BJP is daydreaming to form the government in Odisha in 2024 given the fact Naveen babu has proved his mettle of having transformed the state and personally he is not corrupt. So why would people of Odisha vote against him? Makes sense!
Collage Maker-29-Aug-2022-11

Odisha Film Industry Hit By Another High Profile Marital Controversy, Second Incident In A Month

In less than a month, the Odisha film industry has been rocked by another high-profile marital controversy. This time it is the popular actor Babushaan, son of Odia superstar Uttam Mohanty and actress Aparijita Mohanty. He was in the news because of an unsavoury incident involving his wife Trupti Satpathy. Trupti stopped his co-star Prakruti Mishra from boarding an auto-rickshaw while accusing her of having a relationship with him and ruining their family. Actress Prakruti Mishra hit back saying that Trupti has lost her mental balance. But, this street fight — screaming and allegations – has gone viral.  In a damage control exercise, Babushaan who realised his mistake, in a video message, said that he will no longer work with his co-actress Prakruti. But there is no smoke without fire as Babushaan’s mother Aparijita said “Bad company ruined her son’s life” and asked people of Odisha to bless her son Babushaan so that he returns to his family. Legal cases have been filed by both sides. It is learnt that actress Prakruti has reportedly filed a defamation suit against Babushaan and his wife Trupti and sought a damage of Rs 5 crore. Earlier, we saw how Odia actor Anubhav Mohanty and his actress wife Varsha Priyadarshini made headlines when their marital discord became ugly. Looks like there is a thin dividing line between real and reel world.

Odisha Government Pulls Out All The Stops To Host Men’s World Hockey Cup In Jan 2023

Come January 2023 the entire world’s gaze will be on Bhubaneswar and Rourkela. Reason: The Odisha Government will be hosting the Men’s Hockey World Cup tournament. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has already unveiled the official logo for the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023. FIH and CoA members have planned to visit Rourkela on September 7 which will be followed by the official draw for the tournament on September 8. Both the Odisha Government and FIH members confirmed that Odisha is well prepared to host the upcoming Men’s Hockey World Cup tournament in January 2023.The international hockey matches will be spread between Bhubaneswar’s Kalinga Stadium and Rourkela’s Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium which is nearing completion. Both cities will be beautified to welcome national and international players and visitors. The new Astro Turf stadium at Rourkela with a seating capacity of 20,000 and allied facilities is set to become the benchmark for global standard. Chief Secretary Suresh Mohapatra said, “We are eagerly looking forward to welcoming the top teams of the world.” VK Pandian, 5T Secretary said the Chief Minister has directed the state government  to use this forthcoming World Cup as an opportunity to showcase not only Odisha’s capability as a remarkable host but also promote the art, culture and heritage of the state”. Incidentally, the 5T governance model adopted by the Patnaik government stands for transparency, teamwork, technology and timeliness — leading to transformation.


Technology Cannot Disrupt Original Content Provider: Short Post Editor

They say time flies. How true!  Today is our #SecondAnniversary. Two years back at the height of Covid-19 Pandemic when lockdown was the way of life we took a leap of faith and launched Short Post (Jan 28, 2021), the first-of-its-kind website in the country that focuses on Authentic Gossip. The Oxymoron is deliberate. Well, the response has been quite encouraging. That’s what has kept us going. Till date we have posted close to 2000 stories in the areas of Politics, Business, Entertainment and Sports. Each insightful story of around 225 words has been contributed by Senior Editors. There is a sense of satisfaction of creating a new segment in the market – authentic gossip — and in the process creating a brand (in a limited sense), creating demand (readers) and creating supply (writers). Well known advertisers — IDFC FIRST Bank, ICICI Lombard – supported us.  And that really boosted our confidence. Thank you!

So here we are raring to go.  But, when I look at the media landscape the disruption is indeed fast and furious. Technology is playing a very big role in how content will be consumed. In the past, we have seen how social media has disrupted the media world. Now, everybody is saying the same thing about ChatGPT. It has reached 1 million users in five days. Its scorching pace of growth is indeed frightening and will disrupt the media industry big time. My limited argument is can it do investigative stories, write gossip items using the digital world ecosystem. Unlikely. Clearly, the original content has to be created first — only then can ChatGPT do the magic. That’s what we promise to do – focus on original content.

Before I sign off, I am reminded of an old advertisement of the early sixties: “Avis is only No.2 in rent a cars. So we try harder”. Likewise I can say, we are two years old and we are trying even harder to be relevant to you readers.