Bhubaneswar: Strange is the way politicians behave when the matter comes to power politics. Barely 48-hours ago the two leaders, BJP’s Union Petroleum and Natural Gas(PNG) Minster Dharmendra Pradhan and Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Pattanaik were closeted together at Odisha Bhawan in New Delhi to resolve the IOCL row. Photographs depicting the bonhomie between the two was a treat for the eyes.
But that is history now. And the old chapter has begun. The apple of discord: The Outlook India Speakout Best Administrator Award bestowed upon Naveen. But, between the lines one has to read it along with the next assembly elections and the BJD’s grand preparations to welcome the CM on his return after receiving the award in New Delhi. The award has sparked off an ugly war of words between the BJP and the BJD.
Starting the verbal duel, Dharmendra today said that the award is just a publicity stunt and an opportunity to beat one’s own drum. Dharmendra charged that Naveen’s ability and credibility have been thoroughly exposed by the Supreme Court’s verdict in the multi-crore mining scam. The BJD government is engaged in mining loot in the state.
Quickly jumping into the war of words, the state Agriculture Minister and BJD’s Vice-President Damodar Rout even questioned Dharmendra’s love for Odisha alleging that the later has gone to the Parliament from Bihar. “Why should Dharmendra be envy of Naveen getting the award when he is an Odia?,” questioned Damodar.
“Why cannot Dharmendra celebrate on the occasion when thousands of residents of Odisha as well as Odias staying outside are feeling proud for Naveen grabbing the award?”, he further asked.
However, Naveen on his return from New Delhi preferred to parry the questions on BJP’s reaction on the award. The BJD supremo, however, ruled out any electoral alliance with the saffron party for the next Lok Sabha and assembly elections. “We will continue to maintain our equal distance from the BJP and the Congress”.
Earlier, thousands of party workers and leaders from across the state gathered at the Biju Patnaik International Airport to congratulate the CM. After arriving, he was felicitated by the large crowd. Naveen paid floral tributes to the statue of Biju Patnaik at the airport before leaving for Naveen Nivas.
The BJD has drawn out an elaborate blueprint to honour the Chief Minister across the state for being chosen as the best administrator in the country by the Outlook magazine.