Bhubaneswar :
Saffron Supremo and Prime Minister Narendra Modi was high on praise for Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his Government. One of the most intelligent political personalities that India has ever produced, Mr. Modi lauded Naveen on the floor of the Parliament surprising many senior lawmakerscutting across the political spectrum. Incidentally, Mr. Modi’s pat on Naveen’s shoulder came when the saffron brigade in Odisha was marching towards the Chief Minister’s residence, accusing him of denying justice to the Kalahandi’s woman teacher and shielding his Minister.

Mr.Modi’s praise also came at a time when the BJP is finding it tough to sail through the three-tier panchayat elections in the state. This is Modi who did not mind to highlight BJP’s success in Odisha’s previous rural polls while addressing an election rally in Uttar Pradesh about four years ago. He attempted to give an impression to the people of UP that even the people of Odisha had started accepting BJP and therefore, they too should vote for the lotus symbol.

Prime Minister Mr.Modi’s action has left many senior saffron leaders red faced in the State as they have been agitating against Naveen and even burning his effigies over some issue or the other. While Mr.Modi has been appreciating Naveen in Delhi Durbar, there is no point in local leaders holding agitation against the BJD Government in the state. The Prime Minister’s soothing words on Odisha Government and the Chief Minister, have, in fact left saffron leaders embarrassed who are in the midst of the rural polls that would be followed by the urban polls. Importantly, the rural poll is considered as the ‘Semi-Final’ to the 2024 General Elections for the State Legislative Assembly and Lok Sabha, and therefore, very important for the opposition BJP.

PM Mr.Modi’s kind words for Naveen this time came in a different manner. While speaking on the reforms undertaken by his government in the mining and coal sector, the Prime Minister said: “A significant increase in profits has been seen following the reforms in coal mining. The profit has increased to Rs 35,000 crore from Rs 14,000 crore. Different states have benefitted from the reforms in coal mining and Odisha became the first state to implement these reforms.”

“Therefore, I congratulate the Odisha Chief Minister for his Government to work shoulder to shoulder with the centre,” he said. The Prime Minister also cited how the Odisha-Centre relation is a good example of cooperative federalism.

In fact, Odisha is reaping huge benefits due to mining sector reforms and during 2021-22 financial year, the mineral rich state will generate more than Rs.40,000 crore of revenue from mining sector, officials say.

While majority of the saffron leaders are unable to put together words to respondto Modi’s remark, party MP Suresh Pujari said: “The PM has said good words for the state government’s cooperation. There is no politics in saying good words for good work in a particular sector.”

However, BJD leaders made it a point to highlight Modi’s remarks on Naveen as a major achievement during the campaigning in rural polls. The BJD leaders have started giving the impression to the people that the local BJP leaders have no face value since their national leaders praise Naveen.