JAGANNATH : THE MAGIC BULLET OF ORISSA ELECTION

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The eighteenth parliamentary election along with election for state assembly of Orissa is going to be completed on 1st June, the result of which will come out on 4th of June.  The ruling party in the centre is seeking mandate for third consecutive terms and the ruling party of the state seeking mandate for sixth consecutive terms. In the centre history will not be created but if the ruling party of our state wins for sixth consecutive terms, definitely honourable Chief Minister of Orissa Sri Nabin Pattanaik will create a rare history as longest serving chief minister in India.

Considering the popularity which the Chief Minister enjoys and organisational set up which the party has developed during the last twenty four years of their rule, winning this year election was not a herculean task for the ruling party BJD.  As time passed and election date become nearer, some decisions taken by the party went against the incumbent Chief Minister. Since the advent of Corona, the elected representatives of the state became redundant. They were advised not to expose themselves to the dreaded virus and on the contrary the officials of the state promoted to handle the situation. This was a systematic planning to keep away the elected representatives from the people and make them cypher in the eyes of the people. Then came the concept of 5T governance. An officer became the Secretary of the concept 5T without any Minister to look after that concept. The concept was also not approved by the cabinet. Surprisingly one by one all departments of the government were brought under the control of that concept 5T headed by one person only. Though it has raised the eyebrows of other officers but they preferred to remain silent for the fear of losing their official positions. Even the post of Chief Secretary, Development Commissioners and Addl.Chief Secretary overshadowed by the new 5T concept. The motive of such act was to promote a person to be a natural choice of succession. He was allowed to make whirl wind tour throughout the state in the name of collecting grievances directly from the people. Though there is a structured mechanism on hierarchical order of different categories of officials from Panchayat level to district level and from district level to state level to redress the grievances of the public, to promote the successor that was shattered. The Chief Minister who has never been to the his own grievance chamber for last so many years sent his preferred successor to collect the grievances directly from the public, the outcome of the grievances redressal of such exercise is hardly known to the public. There was a hue and cry for such helicopter visits and collection of grievances ignoring the elected representatives, but to pacify that the chief minister has to issue an audio visual that he has authorised the officer to do so. Of late the opposition parties realized the politics behind and created an uproar both in public and assembly but till then water had crossed over the head. Seeing that their challenges are not gaining grounds, they challenged the propriety of a government officer to be involved in direct politics in the guise of grievances collections. They demanded, if somebody is interested in politics, he should quit his official position and enter into politics. Obliging the demand of the opposition, he quitted the coveted job and jumped to direct politics. Though the opposition parties made it an election issue but till the declaration of election date it has not impacted the mind of the people so much that it can upset the apple cart of the ruling party in the election.

To combat the onslaught and impact of construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya in the mind of the voters of Orissa, a similar project taken in the name of Jagannath temple peripheral development. As Lord Jagannath is the presiding deity of the state and people of the state are emotionally and spiritually connected with the lord, the developmental works undertaken for the peripheral development of the temple were lauded by the people. Seeing the love and support of the people for the project, the ruling party became over enthusiast. They showed scant regards to the rich cultural heritage, culture, traditions and religious practices associated with the temple. Many mathas having religious and historical importance and also having direct link to the temple traditions and services were demolished. To make the inauguration of the temple parikrama prakalpa a grand event and to involve all, chariots named as Arpan Rath covered length and breadth of the state collecting rice, bettlenuts and donations. We all believe that Lord Jagannath is the lord of the universe and he feeds everybody as maa Laxmi is the custodian of the store of the temple, there was no need that chariots will move in the name of the lord collecting all these things. Besides Lord Jagannath is a giver not a beggar and in the unceremonious ways the idols of the lord moved in trolly auto hurt the sentiments of the people. The last nail of the coffin came in the name of Ratna Bhandar. The issue was raked non other than the Prime minister himself supplemented by the team of highly charged batteries of leaders coming to Orissa for election campaigning. Now the issue of Ratna Bhandar is hitting the ruling party like the magic bullets. Things have not confined there, now the loss of the keys have been attributed to the non-Odia aspiring  chief minister along with his origin of Kanchi reminding the people about a shrewd plan of taking revenge of victory upon Kanchi by the Gajapati of Puri. The way it is being propagated, it seems the magic bullet theory is gaining ground and momentum in the mind of the people of Orissa. Whatever may be the election result, but the issue is not going to settle soon.

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