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Modi Trusts Odias

  

Never before since Independence, had Odisha got so much importance at the national level as it is getting today in the present NDA regime. This is because the PM trusts and promotes Odias.
 
There are four Governors and two Union Ministers from Odisha and about half-a-dozen Odisha cadre and Odia IAS officers holding key posts in different Ministries.
 
Adding to this, a son of the soil, P K Mishra from Sambalpur, is the Principal Secretary to Prime Minister. Never before in the past had an Odia officer acted as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the head of the central government.
 
However, Mr.Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has failed to gain political mileage from the support — political and financial — he has extended to Odisha. Odisha people have given him only eight Lok Sabha and 23 Assembly seats.
 
Recently, Mr.Modi’s love for Odias came to the fore when he appointed Girish Chandra Murmu, who hails from Betnoti, as the first Lieutenant Governor of the newly-formed Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir. 
 
J&K is not just another Union Territory, but one of the global hot spots, which the international community has been watching with fingers crossed. Apart from law and order situation, J&K is facing threat from Pakistan and is under the scanners of the global leaders.

And an Odia, Girish Chandra Murmu is India’s answer to the international community. Thanks to Mr.Modi, he chose a man from this tribal dominated district of Mayurbhanj to face the challenge.
 
Earlier, PM Mr.Modi had picked up a tribal woman from Mayurbhanj, Droupadi Murmu for the post of Governor of Jharkhand. Neither she nor anyone from the state was expecting such a big post for a tribal woman. The Prime Minister has also appointed Biswabhusan Harichandan for the crucial post of Governor of Andhra Pradesh, a state ruled by a non-BJP Government.

Mr.Modi also chose another mandarin from Odisha, Shaktikant Das as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). It is certainly a crucial position which decides the fate of country’s economy. Unlike other RBI Governors in the past, Das certainly maintains a low profile and works silently. He played a key role in demonetization.
 
Mr.Modi, who is considered a great ‘giver’ for a poor state like Odisha, has also picked up two people from the state and made them Ministers. Dharmendra Pradhan has been accommodated in the Rajya Sabha from another state and given a prestige portfolio like Petroleum and Natural Gas along with Steel.
 
Mr.Pradhan has also reciprocated by making Ujjwala scheme a success across the country which paid a rich dividend to the BJP. Similarly, a first timer, Pratap Chandra Sarangi has also been accommodated in the Council of Ministers.
 
There was a time when a Congress Prime Minister frustrated Odisha leaders who demanded more funding for the state. They were told by none other than a Prime Minister that money does not grow in plants.
 
It is another matter that people of Odisha continue to repose confidence in the leadership of Naveen Patnaik.

On the financial front, the central grant to Odisha in the last fiscal of the UPA government in 2013-14 was only Rs 10,965 crore, while it is Rs 30,559 crore in 2019-20, Leader of Opposition Pradipta Kumar Naik said adding that the state's share in the central tax has also increased now. While the state's share in 2013-14 was Rs 15,903 crore, it has increased to Rs 39,207 crore in 2019-20. Of the state's budget estimate of Rs 1,39,000 crore, the amount of central assistance and tax in total is Rs 69,766 crore, which is almost 50 per cent of the budget volume.
 
The State's own revenue earning is just Rs 45,500 crore, which is Rs 24,266 crore less than the central assistance being availed by Odisha. The state requires an estimated Rs 57,310 crore to pay salary and pension.
 
Odisha will get Rs 1,84,000 crore in five years as per the recommendation of the 14th Finance Commission, against Rs 69,316 crore during the period of the 13th Finance Commission, which is an increase of 265 per cent. The NDA government has also showered funds on railway, petrochemicals, national highway and some other sectors for Odisha.
 
Despite all out support to the state, Mr.Modi’s BJP has failed to gain politically even as for the first time it secured eight Lok Sabha seats fighting against Naveen’s BJD. However, after the 2019 elections, the BJP has been losing its grip, as is evident from the Bijepur by-poll.
 
It appears that Mr.Modi is the only factor in Odisha so far BJP is concerned. The BJP failed to take advantage of the situation, mostly because of a weak leadership in the state. The party is headed by Basant Kumar Panda, who was elected to the Lok Sabha from Kalahandi due to the Modi factor.
 
When Mr.Panda himself cannot win a seat on his own, how can he ensure others’ victory? BJP has also put its national general secretary Arun Singh in-charge of Odisha. Though Singh is an efficient leader, his strategies have failed. So far Dharmendra Pradhan is concerned, he is yet to come up to the stature of an acceptable leader.
 
Mr.Pradhan has contributed immensely towards the development of the state. He is the only Odia Union Minister who has put his heart and soul for the state. But, he also fails to win people’s confidence mostly because of the stature of Naveen.
 
This apart, Mr.Pradhan also failed to create a proper team which could add to his credibility and contribute to BJP’s growth in Odisha.
 
 The Union Minister from the state’s coal belt takes care of the people who praise him on the face and he is apparently in grip of the some vested interests for which he as well as his party suffer. He should evolve a strategy to win people’s confidence as he has a future in the state politics.
 


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