Naveen Wears Marigold

August 06 2018

Politics and U-turns are easy bedmates, but even by those norms, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s sudden saffron romance seems unseemly, so what is the reason? He is no longer willing to pick up cudgels with the BJP under Modi and Shah. There could be several reasons, experts aver, but the chif among them seems to be the dark shadows of the Rs 10,000 crore chit fund scam of 2014. He is well aware how Modi capitalises on the anxieties of the opponents. In any case, Patnaik is not too fond of Congress as an option. After all, the Biju Janata Dal which he leads was born in the womb of the Congress. The two parties share more or less the same vote bank in his state. Hence, he cannot go with the Congress without cutting the grass from under his own feet. This became evident on two recent occasions: first, when the BJD stayed away from the united opposition’s move, at the behest of Telugu Desam Party, to floor the government with the no-confidence motion. Again, it clearly sided with the ruling party during the debate on Motor Vehicles Act. Naveen has given the job of coordinating with the saffron party in Delhi to his close confidant Bhartrihari Mahtab, leader of BJD in the Lok Sabha. Interestingly, his relations with the BJP in Delhi are excellent, but in Odisha he just can’t stand the party. This is because he is at loggerheads with Dharmendra Pradhan, Amit Shah’s blue-eyed boy in the state.

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