Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been drawing praise not only from the Prime Minister but from many other quarters for the good work being done by his government which has brought the state into national focus.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always refrained from attacking Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik. Instead he has been heaping praise on him on different occasions. Once while replying to the Motion of Thanks in the Rajya Sabha he lauded Patnaik government’s reforms in the coal and mining sectors in sync with the Centre’s vision. He congratulated the Odisha chief minister for working shoulder to shoulder with his government and cited it as an example of cooperative federalism.
The Prime Minister’s eulogy raised many eyebrows because Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) happens to be the main opposition party in Odisha where Patnaik has been in power since 2000. But there is nothing surprising about Modi’s praise of Patnaik who is currently collecting accolades for organizing the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup in Odisha for the second time on the trot.
The fact is that chief minister Naveen Patnaik has been drawing praise not only from the Prime Minister but from many other quarters for the good work being done by his government which has brought the state into national focus. His relentless promotion of hockey has not only revived the game but also earned him immense goodwill with even his political opponents praising his initiatives.
He has also achieved a lot on other fronts. While he took the lead in making the state assembly completely paperless he has come out with a plethora of schemes for the downtrodden. His flagship poverty alleviation scheme under which rice is provided to the poor at Rs.1 per kg has been lauded by economists around the country. Another initiative aimed at mitigating hunger and poverty from the state is called Aahar Yojana under which poor people living in urban areas are provided meals for just Rs.5. It is because of such efforts that hunger deaths have become a thing of past in the state which is now known not only at the national but also at international level as a great investment destination where industries are prospering.
Odisha is marching ahead in the field of sports with Bhubaneswar emerging as the hockey capital of the country. Now Hockey World Cup is being held both in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela, the steel city of Odisha. Hockey enjoys the special patronage of Odisha government because both chief minister Naveen Patnaik and his secretary V Kathikeyan Pandian happen to be lovers of the game.
But the sports is not the only area that Patnaik government has been paying attention to. It has also been trying hard to improve the lot of farmers by campaigning for high MSP (minimum support price) rates and also taking care to ensure that their paddy gets purchased within the state at a fair price. Since in the past there have been allegations of state farmers suffering and not getting their due while selling their rice as state “mandis” (government-sponsored market yards) in the border areas get flooded with paddy from neighbouring states Patnaik government this time was extra cautious in this matter.
With such moves the popularity of Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has been growing and it has already become not only the most successful but also the longest surviving regional party of the state. Patnaik, who is now into his fifth consecutive term in office, is among the most influential chief ministers of the country. Patnaik’s popularity chiefly rests on his public image as a clean and honest politician which has ensured proper implementation of various welfare schemes.