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Santrupt mishra

BJD's Richest Candidate Santrupt Misra Sweeps Streets Of Cuttack To Win Votes

The visuals of Biju Janata Dal’s wealthiest candidate Santrupt Misra (former HR Director of Aditya Birla Group) sweeping the streets of Cuttack has gone viral. The Cuttack Lok Sabha seat is all set to witness a tough battle between six-time ex-BJD veteran MP Bhatruhari Mahtab who recently joined BJP and Misra (BJD) who for the first time is testing electoral politics. Why is Misra in the news? Not because he is the richest BJD candidate having assets of over Rs 461 crore plus investments worth Rs 308 crore and rumours of him investing in BJD? But locals are sitting up and taking notice of this corporate honcho going that extra length of picking the broom to win the Lok Sabha seat from Cuttack.  But, he faces a very formidable opponent in BJP’s Bhatruhari Mahatab who was co-founder of BJD. Are voters impressed by the optics of Misra sweeping the street? Not really! The general impression is that he is not doing it for free…he is merely doing it to win votes. But, the moot point is can Patnaik’s handpicked man defeat a veteran politician like Mahatab?  The general perception is that Mahatab has been six times MP, now it is time for change — a new face with new ideas and Misra fits that bill very well.
modi patnaik

Gloves Are Off, PM Modi Openly Attacks Naveen Patnaik

It’s now certain that the bonhomie situation between BJD-BJP is over at the highest level. It’s a war like situation between hopeful BJP and well entrenched BJD in Odisha. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his electioneering visit to Odisha said “BJD’s expiry date is June 4, the day the Assembly election result will be announced”. Modi also invited Odisha netizens to the swearing-in ceremony of BJP CM on June 10, saying BJP will make Odisha No 1 in five years. Modi in his election speech compared BJD to the setting sun and Congress is already past, while BJP has come with the hope of a new dawn in Odisha” he said. Modi said, the BJP CM in Odisha will be someone who deeply understands and takes pride in Odia culture. Political watchers are asking a couple of questions: Is this Modi’s ploy to intimidate BJD, setting the election tone? Is Modi’s statement based on the feedback given by Odisha BJP leaders? Those who know Modi’s penchant for political spin, say this is Modi’s way for positive thinking just like his famous election promise of “achhe din“. After PM’s expiry day remark Patnaik’s protege VK Pandian said “Naveen Patnaik will take oath as Odisha CM for 6th time on June 9.” On his part, Patnaik said “It has been a long time BJP is daydreaming.” Former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh took a jibe at BJP Modi saying “Odisha has suffered gross neglect in the hands of Modi sarkar. He sighted CAG reports saying central transfers as percentage of revenue receipt has decreased from 57% in 2017-18 to 38% in 2021-2022.”
amit odisha

Amit Shah Sets Cat Among Pigeons, Says Bureaucrat Pandian May Be Patnaik’s Eventual Successor

Union home minister Amit Shah who is on a whistle-stop tour across the country was in Odisha recently where both the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections to boost the morale of his voters and win the confidence of the voters. He told the cadres and leaders, BJP will form the Odisha government in 2024. As for the electorate he told them that BJP will make Odisha No1 state in the country if given an opportunity. He dropped the succession plan bombshell of Biju Janata Dal. He publicly said that chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s confidant VK Pandian may be a possible successor. This statement seems to have unnerved seasoned BJD leaders. But, there is no denying the fact that just like Modi who is admired across the country, so too is Patnaik across the state. He is the undisputed king; nobody can ease him out of the throne in this lifetime. The general feeling is that Patnaik will be sworn in as the CM for the sixth consecutive time in 2024. Yes, what goes against Patnaik is his age (77-year) and health but not lack of development of the state per se.  Pandian emerging as eventual successor seems to have sown seeds of discord among senior BJD leaders. After Patnaik, they feel the party will disintegrate as nobody would want to be led by an outsider like Pandian. Against this backdrop, BJP seems to have the field wide open for it.
naveen _Patnaik

What’s Naveen Patnaik's Compulsion To Contest From Two Assembly Constituencies?

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s decision to contest Assembly election from two constituencies — Kantabanji which falls under Bolangir Parliamentary constituency in Western Odisha and Hinjili in Ganjam, has set the tongues wagging. Everyone is asking what’s HIS compulsion? Well-placed sources say Patnaik’s objective in one word is to stymie both BJP and Congress hold in Western Odisha. In a way, he is not only signalling his commitment to develop western Odisha but also challenging BJP in five Lok Sabha and eight Assembly constituencies besides wiping out Congress in Bolangir.  Congress sources say Naveen babu is rattled that Congress is supporting the creation of a separate State of “Koshal”. And this is why he has decided to contest from Bolangir District. Be that as it may, Patnaik seems to be serious about nursing western Odisha Kantabanji and may finally opt for this constituency in his sixth term, instead of Hinjili which he has represented five times. Sources say he may opt to give away Hinjili constituency to his eventual successor. Odisha goes to poll in four phases starting May 13 to June 1. Most opinion polls predict that BJP could win nearly 14 Lok Sabha seats out of 21 and this victory could impact BJD in Assembly elections.
arup sandip

BJP’s Dr Sambit Patra Vs BJD’s Arup Patnaik: Whom Will The Lord Jagannath Bless?

In Odisha with BJD and BJP deciding to fight the 2024 Lok Sabha elections separately, the big question everybody is asking: “Who will wrest the prestigious Parliamentary seat of Puri? Will it be BJP’s Dr Sambit Patra or BJD’s ex-Mumbai top cop Arup Patnaik?  Analysts feel BJP’s articulate spokesperson Dr Patra has an edge; he has a head start advantage over Patnaik as he contested 2019 Lok Sabha against BJD’s Pinaki Misra from Puri but lost it by 11,000 votes. So he knows the constituency well.  Besides, even after losing the last election, Dr Patra has been nursing the constituency for the last five years and building relationships with locals. Also, Dr Patra’s name was announced quite early in the day by the BJP. On the other hand, many feel Arup Patnaik has been para dropped quite late in the day even though his home town is Delang, Puri. Yes, he is also not new to the game. It may be recalled Patnaik fought the 2019 poll against BJP’s Aparajita Sarangi from Bhubaneshwar but lost it by slender margin. Seasoned observers say “Though Ayodhya is a big positive for BJP, one can’t rule out that Puri’s Lord Jagannath Temple too has been transformed at a cost of nearly Rs 1,000 crore by chief minister Naveen Patnaik. And this is bound to have a positive effect on BJD vis a vis Arup Patnaik. One has to wait and watch till June 4 to find out who will Lord Jagannath bless — Dr Sambit Patra or Arup Patnaik?
jual dilip

Can Hockey Legend Dilip Tirkey Win Against BJP Veteran Jual Oram?

With talks with BJP failing, the Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik is going all out to ensure his party Biju Janata Dal (BJD) wins maximum number of Lok Sabha seats in Odisha. And this has put immense pressure on candidates like hockey legend Dilip Kumar Tirkey who is contesting against veteran BJP politician Jual Oram, a five time MP from Sundargarh. Padma Shri and Arjuna Awardee Tirkey is currently President of Hockey India. He was BJD’s Rajya Sabha MP between 2012 and 2018. In 2014, Oram had defeated Tirkey by 18,829 votes. So can Tirkey defeat Oram this time? Not really if one considers reasons given by political analysts. First, BJP’s Jual Oram is a veteran and given his political acumen it will be difficult to turf him out. Second, Tirkey is a Christian and that may help woo Christian votes and improve his performance but not good enough to win as Ayodhya wave is all over Odisha. And finally, this is Oram’s last election so he is bound to win at all costs. Commenting on his rival, Jual Oram said “Dilip is like a younger brother… he was a star hockey player…he is a good human being… but he lacks experience”. On June 4 we will know the voter’s preference.
aparjitaSarangi

For BJP’s Aparajita Sarangi Winning Bhubaneswar May Not Exactly Be A Cake Walk

The big question everybody is asking is whether BJP’s firebrand Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi will win again this time? Poll experts say, unlike 2019 which had two players BJD and BJP contesting the Bhubaneswar seat, this time Congress too has entered the fray thereby making it a triangular contest and this may result in vote split. In 2019, BJP’s Sarangi won because Congress was absent, its votes got transferred to BJP. Aparajita may have a tough time to retain Bhubaneswar LS seat with aggressive BJD and now Congress making its LS seat debut this time. To counter Aparajita, BJD has given ticket to Manmath Routray, who is an ex-Air India pilot and son of veteran Congress leader — six time MLA Suresh (“Sura”) Routray from Jatni, a major suburban of Bhubaneswar. It is said that given Sura Routray’s immense clout, the scale may tilt in his son’s favour inspite of Modi’s wave. Political watchers say BJD too has become smarter taking out of BJP’s playbook has allocated 25% of its seat to party hoppers from BJP and Congress so as to checkmate Saffron  party not only in Bhubaneswar but also in Kendrapara, Nabarangpur, Balangir, Bargarh, Berhampur, Keonjhar constituencies.
VKPandian_Naveen

Why Are Biju Janata Dal MPs, MLAs Joining BJP

Most party hoppers are not driven by the politics of ideology or the noble thoughts to serve the people but sheer opportunism to stay in power.  Take for instance Bhatruhari Mahtab the five time Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP and co-founder of the party quit as he was being ignored and sidelined by his party (read Naveen Patnaik). He will be fighting Lok Sabha election from Cuttack on BJP ticket against BJD’s Santrupt Mishra, former Birla CEO. Ironically, Cuttack BJP president and former Salepur MLA Prakash Behera resigned from BJP as he was expecting Cuttack ticket. But by going Mahtab way he is likely to join BJD.. The circus of switching parties seems to going on full swing.. Former BJD MP and cine star Sidhant Mohapatra and eminent tribal leader Padma Awardee Damayanti Beshra switched over to BJP along with Mahtab. So too BJD leaders like Prashant Jagdev, Pradip Panigrahi, Arindam Roy, Bipin Pradhan, Arabinda Dhali have joined BJP enmasse. Why are people quitting BJD? Political observers attribute it to the rise and rise of Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s protege, ex-IAS officer VK Pandian, now 5T chairman. He is being groomed to takeover the party say some. He is present in all important meetings and photo ops. At a recent India Today Conclave, Pandian was interviewed one-on-one and this seems to signal where the power is shifting. For diehard BJD members, Pandian is an outsider, a south Indian though his wife is Oriya. Post Ayodhya, BJD members are convinced that there is a saffron wave sweeping the country hence the musical chairs.
BjP Odisha

Odisha Battle For 2024 Between BJD And BJP May Turn Bitter?

Now, it is official that both BJP and BJD are going solo in the general and assembly elections. And the BJP Odisha unit seems to be elated with this new development; they feel that against the backdrop of Ayodhya, the party stands a better chance this time. An indication that they were expecting a solo fight showed when the party immediately released its first list of candidates for 18 of the 21 seats. The list has familiar names: Jual Oram from Sundargarh, Dharmendra Pradhan from Sambalpur, Pratap Sarangi from Balasore, Dr Sambit Patra from Puri, Aparajita Sarangi from Bhubaneswar, Pradeep Panigrahi from Berhampur and others. Sources say four sitting MPs Suresh Pujari,Basant Panda, Nitish Gangadev and Biseswar Tudu may be accommodated in the Assembly elections. There is a strong rumour that the ruling BJD may field Dr Santrupt Mishra, ex Birla HR director and Arup Patnaik ex Mumbai Police Commissioner from Cuttack and Puri respectively. The biggest surprise is BJP’s national vice president Baijayant ’Jay’ Panda is returning back to Odisha to fight from Kendrapara amidst rumour that sidelined BJD film star MP who won Kendrapara and denied BJD ticket. The Odia star may join BJP, contesting from Cuttack constituency following BJD’s six time Cuttack MP Bhatruhari Mahtab quitting BJD. Speculation is rife that Mahtab too may join BJP. Similarly there are rumours that BJP MLA Naba Charan Majhi has been asked to contest the Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha seat instead, making way to accommodate President Murmu’s daughter in the Odisha Legislative Assembly.
manmohan samal

Is BJD-BJP Alliance Talks Headed For A Collapse?

In politics you cannot take anything for granted unless it is signed on the dotted line and formal announcement made to the Press. Just when everybody thought it was the done deal — the alliance between BJP and BJD — comes the news that at the last moment it has hit a speed breaker. Odisha BJP president Manmohan Samal on Thursday (Mar 14) on his return to Bhubaneshwar from Delhi said BJP will form the next government in the state “on its own”. Sources say BJP seems to be pushing Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik hard and are waiting to see whether he gives in to their demands. Or else BJP will go solo both in the Lok Sabha and assembly elections. The Odisha BJP leaders are not keen for an alliance with BJD.  BJP says it will now contest 100 assembly seats in Odisha. Earlier BJP had demanded 55 seats in the Assembly with BJD fighting the remaining 92 seats.
modi patnaik_002

BJP-BJD Alliance: Is It A Marriage Of Convenience?

It is now clear as daylight that BJP and BJD are joining hands for the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. It is a done deal. So why is Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik joining hands with BJP when he walked out of NDA in 2009? Analysts say that he knows BJD will win anyway though with less votes in 2024?  But, sources say, Patnaik is keen to protect his CM turf for another five years without CBI and ED complications and this explains why he is opting for a peaceful life given his fragile health conditions. In any case, this election is Naveen Babu’s last election. Modi is also keen because BJD being part of the NDA will ensure that all 21 MP seats are in their kitty. It is learnt that BJP Delhi high command has also sensitised BJP Odisha leaders not to not to jump the gun and make any utterance about the BJP-BJD pact to the Press. There are small snags which are being ironed out. For instance, there is push-pull from BJP and BJD over two seats — Puri and Bhubaneswar. Sitting BJP MP Aparajita Sarangi would like to retain Bhubaneswar while Dr Sambit Patra BJP National spokesperson is keen to contest from Puri which he lost to BJD’s Pinaki Mishra in 2019.
Biju patnaik

Odisha Chief Minister Presses For Bharat Ratna For The Late Biju Patnaik

Ahead of Prime Minister Narndra Modi’s visit to Odisha on March 5, the Biju Janata Dal government headed by Naveen Patnaik is pressing BJP to confer the country’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna to daring aviator-businessman-politician the late Biju Patnaik coinciding with his birth anniversary. Biju Patnaik who passed away in 1997 was the two term chief minister of Odisha. Father of the current chief minister senior Patnaik also worked at the Centre as the Union minister for steel & mines, and Union minister for coal.  Political parties in Odisha like the Congress, and others are not comfortable with BJD-BJP’s continued bonhomie. They are now asking BJD-BJP to lower their mask, clarify their relationship as friends, foes or just having tactical understanding during polls. Sources say, buzz of formal or informal alliance is growing with BJD because, one, PM had recently addressed Naveen Patnaik as a friend at Sambalpur, two, Union defence minister Rajnath Singh in his recent trip to Odisha did not criticize Naveen directly, three, BJD’s extending support to Ashwini Vaishnaw for Rajya Sabha nomination and four, VK Pandian, man Friday of Patnaik, in a TV interview admitted that Patnaik and Modi are good friends.  Historically, there has been an informal understanding between BJD and BJP but this time there is a strong buzz in Odisha that the BJP-BJD will have a formal seat sharing arrangement for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
anubhav mohanty_002

Odia Superstar & BJD MP Anubhav Mohanty May Not Get Lok Sabha Ticket?

Speculations are rife whether Odia superstar and Biju Janata Dal MP Anubhav Mohanty will get the 2024 Lok Sabha ticket? Unlikely, say BJD insiders. The Kendrapara seat which he won in the 2019 election may be given to former Rajnagar Congress MLA Anshuman Mohanty who switched over to BJD few days ago. So what went wrong with Anubhav?  The marital discord with his ex-wife Varsha Priyadarshini saw him hitting the headlines instead of political work.  He was spending more time on fighting the divorce case than nursing his constituency.  The court did grant him the divorce finally. But, this discord kept him away from attending party meetings, registering his presence at the government programmes, participating in Durga Puja festival or involved in Panchayat poll campaigns, party insiders say. People close to Anubhav reveal that he has been sidelined in the BJD for quite some time now.  It is learnt that BJP’s Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda busy with UP election responsibility is unlikely to contest from Kendrapara. And BJP is yet to announce its list of candidates for Odisha. So given this situation, BJD seems well prepared to defend its traditional “Kendrapara” fort.
pinaki misa

Question Mark On Pinaki Misra's Political Future In BJD?

The rumours are flying thick and fast about the future of Biju Janata Dal’s (BJD) four term Lok Sabha MP Pinaki Misra. The MP from Puri since 2009 has been seen as the political face of Naveen Patnaik in Delhi. Misra, a successful senior advocate in the Supreme Court was accused by the Odisha BJP unit a few months ago for helping Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra in the cash-for-query controversy. And BJP has conveyed its displeasure to Patnaik. Also, Misra who had defeated BJP’s Sambit Patra in 2019 from Puri constituency by a slender margin, is in no mood to fight a direct election. He was hoping for a Rajya Sabha nomination but that did not happen. Instead Patnaik nominated BJD’s Debashis Samantaray, Subhashish Khuntia and BJP’s Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union minister for Railways. Sources within BJD say that erstwhile student leader Arun Kumar Sahoo, MLA from Nayagarh may be given Puri ticket. Puri residents say they want a full time MP who will look into their concerns and challenges of everyday life and not an occasional visitor politician.
Santrupt misra

Why Aditya Birla Group’s HR Director Santrupt Misra Joined Biju Janata Dal

When Santrupt Misra, HR Director of Aditya Birla Group quit his job after 27 years to join the Biju Janata Dal none of his close friends were surprised. Why? He had confided to them a few years ago that he wanted to return back to Odisha some day and was waiting for the right break to change his track. And that break came in 2021 when Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik appointed him as the Chairman of Ekamra Kshetra Lingaraj Temple Advisory Committee, an honorary position bestowed on him while he was still working with Birlas. The way Santrupt handled the Temple project — his foresight, strategic thinking, ability to communicate clearly and solving issues impressed Patnaik immensely. Likewise Santrupt was inspired by Patnaik’s vision, ideology and leadership style. For the uninitiated, Misra is Odia and Odisha is home state; he majored at Utkal University before taking the corporate plunge. His track record in the corporate world is impressive. He has worked with JK, TISS, Hindustan Unilever followed by the Aditya Birla Group. Incidentally, his wife Alka, chairman of the World Skill Development Council is based out of Bhubaneshwar. So it made imminent sense for Santrupt to return back to Odisha. Grapevine has it that he may be nominated to the Rajya Sabha seat or may opt for Lok Sabha seat either from Cuttack or Puri.
modi patnaik_002

Rahul Gandhi Slams BJD-BJP ‘Informal Alliance’ Ahead Of General Elections

Ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections the political temperature in Odisha is rising with possible alliance talks going on between various political parties. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s who was in Odisha recently at a public gathering called Naveen ji as “mitra” openly and this seems to have embarrassed the local BJP unit. It is public knowledge that both Modi and Patnaik have great equations. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi who just finished his last leg of Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra campaigning in Odisha seems to be upset with the BJP-BJD informal alliance. With a view to energize Odisha’s Congress cadres, Rahul has cautioned Odia people saying Odisha is a partnership government of Naveen Patnaik and Narendra Modi wherein Patnaik is helping Modi in Delhi, while Modi helps Naveen in Odisha. Adding further he said that if BJP comes to power even Navratna NALCO will be sold off to private players. Former bureaucrat VK Pandian, Patnaik’s right hand man acknowledged through podcast that lot of things have been ironed out between BJP and BJD saying that Patnaik has it made clear long ago that BJD will have constructive cooperation with the Centre reiterating that the chief minister is not here to fight BJP or Congress. What is important according to Pandian is “covering Odisha’s interest”. For BJP it has no option but a tactical alliance considering the fact Patnaik’s popularity continues to rise and BJP overall has not been able to penetrate the state save for Western Odisha.
Naveen odia

Odisha Chief Minister Plays The Language Card

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s recent inauguration of ‘Akshar Bhumi’ (Odia language park, a walk through museum which traces the history of Odia language) followed by World Odia Language Conference Feb 3-5 at Bhubanewar’s Janata Maidan, attracting 10,000 visitors from India and overseas is making headlines in Odisha dailies. This mega event had the presence of international and national scholars including winners of Jnanpith, Padma and Sahitya Akademi awardees and recipients of Kabir Samman. Political observers say Patnaik is now promoting Odiya language and culture as a political weapon. Towards this the Odisha government and JNU, New Delhi have signed a MoU for establishing Biju Patnaik Special Centre for Odia Studies at JNU for research in Odia language. Patnaik, who knows the pulse of his people, is instilling pride at home and overseas by promoting Odia race, culture, language and literature. In doing so he is silencing critics who criticized him for not knowing his own mother tongue well. Opposition leaders in Odisha are referring to this event as “political gaslighting”. With general elections just a couple of months away, Patnaik is sending a clear message to his critics that language does play a significant role in political propaganda.
Naveen Patnaik_008

With General Elections Few Months Away Political Temperature In Odisha Hots Up

With the general elections a few months away, the political temperature in Odisha seems to be rising. Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with senior BJP leaders will be visiting  Sambalpur on February 3. Political watchers interpret  Modi’s Sambalpur visit  to create “hawa and mahol” of election mood, apart from launching news projects worth Rs 69000-crore. Besides inaugurating IIM-Sambalpur, Modi is also endorsing Dharmendra Pradhan who will be contesting the Lok Sabha election from Sambalpur constituency. Even though PM Modi and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik are good friends, yet Modi is leaving no stones unturned to ensure a big win for BJP. Energized by BJP’s recent win in Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh, the general thinking among BJP leaders in Odisha is, “If North East and Chattisgarh could be won by BJP, why not Odisha ”? Poll pundits say Biju Janata Dal’s (BJD) immense penetration at Panchayat and booth levels will ensure its eventual victory.  BJP does not have alternative programmes at the state level that can challenge BJD seriously. Surprisingly, BJP’s constant accusation of BJD’s corruption has neither dented Patnaik’s image nor decreased his party’s popularity. The general feeling among people of Odisha is that Naveen babu has delivered.
JSW

JSW’s Big Plan For Odisha, To Invest Rs 40,000 Crore In EV Projects

The $ 23 billion JSW Group headed by Sajjan Jindal is making headlines in Odisha for its Rs 40,000 crore investment plans. The Group which has strong presence in Steel, Energy, Infrastructure, Cement, Paints, and Sports is setting up the world’s largest single location electric vehicle and EV battery plant, including component manufacturing to be located between Cuttack and Jagatsinghpur in Odisha. It is learnt that the Odisha government headed by Naveen Patnaik has approved a special incentive package for Jindal Group. Sajjan Jindal who has 35% JV stake in SAIC MG Motor India is likely to increase his stake to 51% stake since Chinese company SAIC MG cannot raise resources and scale operations due to regulatory restrictions imposed by India following strained relationship with China. SAIC MG has signed a JV with JSW to expand India operations. This explains why JSW plans to increase its stake to 51% stake in SAIC MG. Through advance planning and identifying initiatives backed by capital infusion, Jindal is keen to transform MG Motor India operations. JSW Group is spread across India, USA, Europe and Africa, employs nearly 40,000 people.
Nalco

NALCO Invests In Lithium Exploration & Mining Projects In Argentina

Odisha-based public sector giant the National Aluminium Company (NALCO) is one of the largest integrated Bauxite-Alumina-Aluminium-Power Complex in Asia. This 44-year old Navratna is getting into Lithium exploration and mining, the much sought after minerals globally. It is learnt that NALCO is making lead investment in Lithium exploration covering five Lithium blocks in Argentina supporting India’s ‘Atmanirbhar’ strategy. NALCO’s CMD Sridhar Patra was in Argentina recently to finalise the investment plans. NALCO’s move to get into lithium exploration, popularly known as white gold, comes at the back of India’s whopping lithium import bill of Rs 23,171 crore for FY 2023. NALCO in its exchange filing said that these five lithium blocks in Argentina will cover an area of 15,703 hectare will entail an investment of Rs 200 crore. The Indian government-owned Khanij Bidesh India Limited (KABIL) has signed an Exploration and Development Agreement with CAMYEN, a state-owned enterprise of Catamarca province of Argentina, for exploration & mining of five Lithium blocks in Argentina.. Sources say, India’s entry into Argentina is the first strategic move. The larger strategy is to get into the Lithium Triangle through tie-ups, acquisitions, partnerships and long term leasing of lithium reserves spread across Argentina, Chile and Bolivia.
bsky

Odisha Govt’s Nabin Health Card Scheme’s Technical Glitches Frustrate People

With BJP making every effort to topple his government, the Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, like a grandmaster, is always several moves ahead. But, unfortunately for him, his health care plan — considered a masterstroke — may not give him the expected political mileage, if the registration deadline of January 16, 2024 is not extended. An average Odia is not too familiar with online registration to avail of cashless free treatment for critical ailments at the private hospitals. The healthcare scheme branded as BSKY Nabin Card is facing too many technical glitches as a result people have to literally go from pillar to post to fill in their forms. Sometimes the ‘Add Family member’ button stops working, and the interface ‘freezes’ after adding two members. Sources say there is a gap in the awareness drive and competency level to address glitches both at schools, panchayats, SHG and social media level. Fed up with repeated technical glitches and short deadlines many people in sheer frustration have given up on BSKY Nabin cards. There is a chorus to extend the registration deadline date. Is the Patnaik government listening?
modi patnaik

Why Is PM Modi Visiting Odisha

Speculations are rife that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Odisha possibly in the third week of January, just before the Ram Lala consecration ceremony. BJP sources say senior leaders like JP Nadda and Amit Shah will be accompanying the PM. However, the PMO is yet to make a formal announcement of the PM’s scheduled visit. Modi visited Odisha last year to take stock of the worst train accident in Balasore. This time speculation is, Modi is visiting Berhampur as part of election agenda. He may address gatherings at Gopalpur, sources say. Why is the PM visiting Odisha? Sources say Modi is determined to correct the bonhomie image of him and chief minister Naveen Patnaik. He is keen that BJP make inroads in Odisha and its possible only if he takes Patnaik head on at his home turf Ganjam. Also, it has been proved that the BJP’s state unit on its own is not in a position to give tough fight to well entrenched BJD juggernaut. Opposition BJP chief whip Pavan Majhi in the Odisha Assembly said “Our focus is on increasing the party’s strength and forming the government in Odisha.” For BJP ruling Odisha has been a pipe dream, except western Odisha they have little penetration elsewhere. The state’s five time CM Patnaik remains confident that he will continue to remain in the driver’s seat.
Metro

Odisha’s Metro Rail Project: An Election Gimmick Or Serious Intent?

With Lok Sabha elections a few months away all states are investing in infrastructure projects to reap the electoral dividends. The Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik is no different. Without the Centre’s support he has announced a metro rail project involving a big investment of nearly Rs 6,000 crore. In the first phase, the 26 km long rail line will connect Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. This is the single largest investment made in any infrastructure project in Odisha. The state has signed a pact with DMRC and expects the project to be completed in four years. The underlying objective of the rail project is to reduce the road traffic density. Political analysts are asking why is Patnaik going solo without seeking investment from the Union government? Reportedly, Patnaik government has been chasing the Union government for years to support this project but did not get any positive signal. Instead of waiting endlessly, the Patnaik government decided to go on its own. This is a flagship programme under the 5T Initiative that will also symbolise the emergence of a new Odisha. The Opposition BJP dismisses it as an election gimmick and it will be shelved once the elections are over in 2024. Only time will tell.
tata power

Tata Power Gets Future Ready, Focuses On Youth Development & Women Empowerment In Odisha

Since acquiring the distribution business in Odisha three years ago, Tata Power has successfully reduced the AT&C loss levels in the State. Having ushered in an era of distribution reforms, its four discoms in the state are now focusing on community and youth empowerment through focused initiatives.  Under chief minister Naveen Patnaik Odisha is poised to witness exponential economic growth vis a vis increase in power demand. To ensure that this demand is met with reliable and quality power supply enabled by a skilled and industry-ready workforce, the company is focusing on skill development. It is ensuring that STEM students are equipped with relevant technical and operational skills aligned with the power industry’s changing requirements. Recently it signed a MoU with the Skill Development Technical Education Department of Odisha government to impart industry-level training to students enrolled in ITIs. Besides, the company is also empowering women in STEM to shine by offering a variety of roles and opportunities across its functions. Impressed by the work done by the company in MSME space, GRIDCO’s MD Trilochan Panda feels Tata Power’s consumer centric, social approach will create a vibrant socio-economic system in Odisha.  Likewise Tata Power’s T&D President Sanjay Banga is quite excited about focusing on technical education in Odisha. The company which is committed to invest Rs 6,000 crore in Odisha is focusing on developing the EV charging network, microgrids, rooftop and floating solar plants.
naveen patnaik sadhu

Odisha Chief Minister Checkmates BJP & Cong, Plays Hindu Card In A Big Way

It is no secret Naveen Patnaik’s party, the Biju Janata Dal is focusing on ancient temple development, its beautification and improving its amenities in a big way providing satisfaction to devotees. Just like PM Modi’s revival of Shri Kashi Vishwanath temple in Uttar Pradesh. Patnaik has started in a big way by focusing on improving amenities at five big temples — Lord Jagannath Temple Puri), 11th century Lingaraja Tempe ( Bhubaneswar), 16th century Samaleswari Temple (Sambalpur), Tara Tarni Temple (Ganjam) and Biraja Temple (Jajpur). By investing Rs 943 crore he has already transformed the 12th century Jagannath Temple into a modern day pilgrim centre. The inauguration is lined up between Jan 15 and Jan 17, 2024. Reportedly, 7000 invites which include VVIPs like PM Modi, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, King of Nepal, Baba Ramdev, 857 temple heads from Odisha and heads of temples across India, temple heads from overseas, corporate czars and film celebrities have been sent. Why is Odisha CM prioritising temple development in a big way? Sources say, Patnaik like Modi has opted for a soft Hindutva strategy in shrine management, improving its amenities which is expected to give BJD a leg up in the 2024 Lok Sabha election and also improve religious tourism. This is being hailed as Patnaik’s master stroke game. A political professor at Utkal University said,”Religion is a low hanging fruit and Puri being the religious capital of Odisha, Naveen is using it effectively”.
VKPandian

Why Is Naveen Patnaik's Protege VK Pandian Not Contesting Elections

Speculations are rife as to why Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s protege, ex-IAS officer VK Pandian, now 5T chairman, is not contesting the 2024 assembly election. Pandian, who holds the cabinet rank, is the second most influential person in Biju Janata Dal (BJD). Party sources say Pandian’s decision could not have been possible without Patnaik’s nod. This is not the right time for Pandian to contest election given the fact he is saddled with enormous party responsibilities. Pandian has to earn Naveen’s complete trust regarding his organizational capacity, people management skills, and resolving contradictions. Basically, Pandian has to ensure that BJD wins both Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in 2024 handsomely. It is learnt Pandian will play a greater role including timely temple renovation of Lord Jagannath temple, all round infrastructure development, school and college transformation, fight for special category status for Odisha, manage perceptions at the grass root levels, solve interstate conflicts. Pandian now speaks like a politician when he says that he has been blessed with two things:  one to serve Lord Jagannath and another work under chief minister Patnaik.
goenka

Welspun Group Plans To Invest Rs 20,000 Crore In Odisha

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik and industries minister Pratap Keshari Deb have reasons to feel elated. The state has managed to attract investment worth Rs 84,918.75 crore towards 12 key industrial projects. Some of the companies which have plans to invest big time in Odisha are: Welspun Group, Tata Steel, NTPC, REFL and Sembcorp Green and Ind Barath Energy Utkal. These investments are expected to generate employment opportunities for over 42,000 people. And guess who is leading the investment pack? It is Mumbai-headquartered Welspun Group, an Indian multinational conglomerate led by husband-wife duo Balkrishan and Dipali Goenka. The group has a strong presence in pipes, textiles, Infrastructure, and steel. The Goenkas are investing over Rs 20,000 crore in Odisha covering its business verticals. As part of the plan, Welspun Living has got the Odisha government’s nod for acquiring 350 acres of government-owned Odisha Textile Mills land for setting up an integrated textile and logistic facility at Chowdwar, Cuttack. For this project the group has earmarked over Rs 3,000 crore for this project having employment prospects of over 20,000 employees. Similarly, Welspun’s pipe and pipe coating plant under Welspun Corp at Sambalpur will create another 3,830 employees and its Green Ammonia plant at Sambalpur under Welspun New Energy Ltd will generate another 13,860 employees. Meanwhile, Patnaik has tasked the industry department to find suitable investors for the closed Brajrajnagar Orient Paper Mill spread over 843 acres
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Patnaik’s AMA Bank Logo Irks Opposition Leaders In Odisha

Nobody knows the power of branding more than the Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik. With elections round the corner Patnaik’s government has launched AMA Bank with an investment of Rs 500 crore to provide banking to the unbanked. To reach out to 4,373 gram panchayats it has entered into collaboration with six public sector banks like SBI, PNB, UBI, UCO Bank, BOI and BOB. So far so good. But, the Opposition leaders in Odisha are not happy. They feel that the nationalised banks have compromised their independent entity. Odisha BJP says the AMA Bank logo looks like Conch shell which resembles the Biju Janata Dal party symbol. It is a clear violation and has complained to the Election Commission of India. BJP leader Aparajita Sarangi said “use of party symbols in government advertisements is highly condemnable”. Jaynarayan Mishra, leader of Opposition fears that 50% of the budget for setting up AMA infrastructure and promotion may be misutilised. Patnaik has justified his stand saying it promoted AMA Bank involving nationalised Banks as about 65% of the total 6,798 gram panchayats in Odisha do not have a brick and mortar bank. Patnaik says, “AMA Bank model is the first-of-its-kind in the country and will be a role model for other states.” Be it Ghare Ghare Sankha meaning every home covered by BJD conch shell or Navin Odisha (new Odisha campaign) and now AMA Bank has a logo that looks like BJD symbol and this is what seems to irk the Opposition leaders.
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

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.
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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.
jagannath_Patnaik

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.
dharmendraPradhan

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.
SriJagannath

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.
Ochip

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?
Patnaik_Pandian

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.
Bbrailhq

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.
Aparajit_Dharamendra

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.
AshwinVishnaw

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.  

TRENDS & VIEWS

Editor’s Note: Big Punch In Small Pack

It is the Third Anniversary of Short Post and as a news media startup launched during the Covid-19 pandemic it certainly feels better than good to find ourselves where we are today. Here, I must cite the unstinted support of our seasoned contributors, all senior editors in the country, who brought a great degree of maturity and sagacity to the Short Post newsroom. But for them, our tagline “Authentic Gossip”, an Oxymoron, would not have matured viably. Our user numbers may be small but our stories have created the desired impact among people who matter — decision makers and influencers. We offer a big punch in a small pack and Short Post with its 225-word stories has been punching above its weight category. Having posted close to 3,000 stories in the last 36 months, Short Post, I feel, is an idea whose time has come.
And this is vindicated by our two marquee advertisers – IDFC FIRST Bank and ICICI Lombard. Both believed in our story and have supported us from Day one. A big thank you to both.
If you look at the media landscape – print, TV and digital — it is a mixed bag. There are job losses as some outfits have closed down while a lucky few were bailed out by large corporate houses. Yes, there is a lot of action in the digital space. However, the entry of corporate houses has raised the question of independence of news media outfits. Sadly, there are just a handful of independent media outfits in the country that are highly respected for their neutrality. At Short Post, our credo is not to take sides, prejudge issues or be biased but, informing readers of behind-the-scenes happenings. In essence, Short Post strives to be a neutral editorial platform — neither anti-establishment nor pro-establishment.
As I said last year, disruptions in the media world are moving at a fast and furious pace. Technology is playing a very big role in how content is generated and consumed. But, we are neither alarmed nor perturbed as it is all a part of the evolution process. What gives us comfort is that AI is unable to create original gossipy content. And that is the news arena where we have achieved a distinction.