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Soumaya Ranjan Pathak and Bhatruhari Mahtab   

Odisha’s Media Barons-Cum-BJD Leaders Question Naveen Patnaik’s Working Style

Odisha’s two prominent media barons Soumya Ranjan Patnaik of No 1 daily Sambad and Kanak TV, and Bhatruhari Mahtab of Odisha’s oldest daily Prajatantra seem to be questioning chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s working style. Interestingly, both are senior BJD leaders. Patnaik, son-in-law of the late chief minister JB Patnaik is BJD MLA and so too is Mahtab, BJD’s Lok Sabha MP.  Sources say it was Naveen babu’s clever move to get these media barons on his side by offering them party tickets.  According to sources, these barons now are uncomfortable and would like to speak their minds on a host of burning issues plaguing the state. They want to give an alternate opinion as independent thinkers. But in Naveen babu’s scheme of things policy issues and role of think tank were assigned to bureaucrats who in turn ensured these politicians were kept out of bounds, be it strategic issues or cabinet reshuffle. Feeling left out they have started playing the role of watchdog.  Result: Odisha’s media has started publishing/broadcasting hard stories exposing government’s shortcomings, allegations regarding Covid mortality details being fudged, dominance of bureaucracy ,rising trend of alcohol consumption, corruptions within the party. BJD sources say “The complaining media owners are also part of the BJD government now. When an individual joins a party he ceases to be an independent voice”.