BJD to play important role in formation of govt at centre

BJD to play important role in formation of next govt at centre: Naveen Patnaik

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday said the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) would play an important role in formation of the next government at centre as no national party would be able to win a majority in the election. Launching a formal election campaign of the party in Nayagarh district, Mr. Patnaik said, “this time no national party would be able to win majority in Lok Sabha election. We will have decisive role to play in formation of the next government at centre.”Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

“This will be a golden opportunity for us. The BJD will win 21 out of 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha,” said the BJD supremo. “We will end the historical injustice meted out to Odisha for all time to come,” he said. “We have been fighting for getting special category status. If Odisha is accorded special category status, the State would be hugely benefited. Youths will get employment and more funds would flow into State for development,” said Mr. Patnaik.

“The BJP had promised special category status for Odisha in its manifesto. But when it formed government at centre, it forgot to fulfill the commitment,” said BJD chief. “Odisha has the worst railway network in entire country. However, Indian Railways is earning highest profit from Odisha. The Indian Railway is earning ₹20,000 crore, but Odisha is getting only Rs. 1000 crore. Funds are being spent in other States. Isn’t it central negligence,” he asked.

Similarly, central government is collecting thousands crore of revenue from coal sector whereas Odisha is getting pollution and dust, Mr. Patnaik said. “BJP leaders cannot fight for the rights of Odisha. They are controlled by high command sitting in New Delhi. The BJD is of Odisha and our high command is Odias. Our remote control lies with 4.5 crore people of the State. We have been fighting for Odia pride and interest of Odisha,” said BJD chief.

Stating that he was keeping a tab on implementation of Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme, Mr. Patnaik assured that no famer would be left out in the direct benefit transfer scheme. “Some opposition parties are spreading lies about KALIA. Nobody can stop KALIA. All farmers will surely get KALIA assistance,” he asserted.


Massive victory for BJD in Odisha bypoll

Massive victory for BJD in Odisha bypoll

Massive victory for BJD in Odisha bypoll.  Biju Janata Dal (BJD) candidate Rita Sahu registered a thumping victory in the Bijepur assembly bypoll in Odisha by defeating BJP’s Ashok Panigrahi by a margin of 41,933 votes on Wednesday.
While Sahu secured 102,871 votes, Bharatiya Janata Party‘s Panigrahi got 60,938 votes. Congress candidate Pranaya Sahu was a distant third with 10,274, said Returning Officer Tapiram Majhi.

The BJD won a staggering 56 per cent of the polled votes, while the BJP won 33.53 per cent and the Congress a mere 5.65 per cent, said Majhi.

The Bijepur result assumes significance, particularly for the BJD, BJP and the Congress as it is seen as a precursor to the 2019 general elections.

The results proved that the popularity of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik remains intact despite an aggressive campaign by the BJP, which failed to capitalise on its advantages from the panchayat polls.

The BJP had swept the Zilla Parishad polls in Bargarh district in 2017. On the other hand, the Congress party, which won the assembly seat the last three times, was completely decimated in the by-election.

Celebrations erupted at the BJD party headquarters here. Party workers were seen dancing and bursting firecrackers following the victory of their candidate. BJD president and Odisha Chief Minister Patnaik said a victory by more than 40,000 votes will have an impact on future elections.

“I am humbled by love and trust of the people of Bijepur for giving BJD a massive victory. BJD lives in the hearts of the people of Odisha. Our people are peace loving and have rejected the politics of hatred and violence,” said Patnaik.

“I thank each and every BJD worker who has worked hard for this. We will continue our efforts to build a prosperous and empowered Odisha. Jai Jagannath,” he tweeted. BJP legislature party leader KV. Singdeo conceded defeat.

“We need to do our introspection over the defeat in the Bijepur bypoll and move forward,” said Singhdeo.
The by-election was held on February 24 in which around 82 per cent of the voters had exercised their franchise. It was necessitated following the death of Congress MLA Subal Sahu in August 2017.

Panigrahi had won the Bijepur seat in 2000. Though as many as 13 candidates were in the fray for the assembly seat, the high voltage fight was primarily seen as a triangular contest between the ruling BJD, BJP and Congress.

-February 28, 2018

Baijayant Panda suspended from BJD

Baijayant Panda suspended from BJD

Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP from Kendrapara, Baijayant Panda, was on Wednesday suspended from the primary membership of the party for “anti-party” activities.

Baijayant PandaMr. Panda, who is the vice-president of IMFA, India’s largest, fully integrated producer of ferro alloys, was suspended from the party with immediate effect by Chief Minster and BJD president Naveen Patnaik. IMFA is engaged in mining, ferro alloys and electricity production.

Naveen Patnaik took action against the MP for his “anti-party” activities. The dissident MP, who remained a Rajya Sabha member of the BJD from 2000 to 2006 and again from 2006 to 2009, had won from the Kendrapara Lok Sabha constituency twice as a BJD nominee — first in 2009 elections and again in 2014.

The dissident MP, who remained a Rajya Sabha member of the BJD from 2000 to 2006 and again from 2006 to 2009, had won from the Kendrapara Lok Sabha constituency twice as a BJD nominee — first in 2009 elections and again in 2014.

Mr. Panda had been trying to weaken the regional party since he was not allowed by the party leadership after the 2014 elections to become the head of the Lok Sabha’s Standing Committee on Finance, senior Minister and BJD vice-president Surjya Narayan Patro said in a press note.

“Mr. Panda’s claim that he was a founder-member of the BJD is baseless,” said Mr. Patro in his statement.

The rebel MP had not campaigned for the BJD nominees in the run-up to the panchayat elections last year and instead openly campaigned for opposition parties, Mr. Patro added.

Mr. Patro further said that as vice-president of IMFA, Mr. Panda had received ₹1,45,27,747 in 2014 towards salary and allowances, and waiver of loans to the tune of crores of rupees of IMFA (previously named as ICCL) was still surrounded by controversy.

Reacting to Mr. Panda’s recent tweets, BJD spokesperson and MP Pratap Keshari Deb said the rebel MP was appearing to be speaking the language of Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.


Jaitley slams Congress for stalling GST, says last laugh will be best

Jaitley slams Congress for stalling GST, says last laugh will be best

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday attacked Congress for stalemate in Parliament, saying some people are getting “sadistic pleasure” by not allowing the GST bill to get passed but it would eventually get through and the ‘last laugh would be the best’.

The Minister also expressed hope that the Indian economy would do better in the coming fiscal on the likelihood of a good monsoon as the rains in the past had never remained deficient for three consecutive years.

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley.

The Minister was speaking at the ET Awards function here along with Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

“Democracy doesn’t work in that manner. It’s obvious that not allowing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill to pass (is) giving some people sadistic pleasure. And then democracy has its own strength and the last laugh is always the best one.”

The Constitutional Amendment bill to roll out the GST is stuck in the Rajya Sabha because of the stiff opposition by the Congress party though several regional parties, including the JDU, RJD and BJD, were in favour of the new indirect tax regime.

“Almost everyone is on board. I have never seen a complete coalition of regional parties supporting a particular proposal. Even the UPA allies are supporting it. RJD has said they are supporting it, the JDU has said they are supporting it, the NCP… so it is only one political party which is opposed to it.

”… when I speak to the mid-command of the party, I come back with a sense of optimism. And when I meet them just before Parliament is about to commence at 11 am every morning, I think the high-command prevails over the mid-command. The problem is not with the Indian politics, the problem I think, is with a few individuals,” said the finance minister.

-PTI, MUMBAI, January 9, 2016

It is raining sops in Naveen Patnaik’s Odisha

It is raining sops in Naveen Patnaik’s Odisha

Tens of thousands of students across Odisha broke into impromptu celebrations earlier this week when the state government announced subsidized loans for them from banks to pursue professional studies. Intended to benefit students with annual family incomes of less than Rs 4.5 lakhs, the beneficiaries were pleasantly surprised, but not taken aback.

In poverty-stricken Odisha where deprivation rules and hunger
is rampant, chief minister Naveen Patnaik has made it a
habit to surprise his subjects with periodic sops. (Sonu Mehta/ HT File Photo)

In poverty-stricken Odisha where deprivation rules and hunger is rampant, chief minister Naveen Patnaik has made it a habit to surprise his subjects with periodic sops. The subsidized loan for students was the fourth-term chief minister’s seventh sop this year, and possibly his 50th in the last 15 years.

“It is a government of, by and for sops,” says Bijoy Mohapatra, a senior BJP leader and bitter critic of Patnaik. But the chief minister remains unfazed by the criticism and continues to give out doles to different sections of the people at regular intervals. He rolled out his most ambitious sop at the beginning of this year, when the government announced subsidized lunch for the urban poor for just Rs 5 a plate.

The Ahaar scheme was initially launched in five towns including the steel city of Rourkela, but its impact was instant. As people feasted on the hot meal of rice and lentil, Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD) swept the urban body poll, prompting the government to extend the sop to all 30 district headquarters of the state.

Initially pegged to cost the state Rs 15 crore a year, Ahaar is expected to cost a lot more now following its implementation across the state. Opposition parties say public money is being squandered on non-productive populist measures, but the government insists it is all being done for people’s welfare.”We should not always think of costs,” points out ruling party leader Bijay Nayak.

Since he took over the reins of the state in 2000, Patnaik has displayed single-minded devotion in giving out doles. “He has some scheme or the other for almost everyone in the state,” says political commentator Rabi Das. There is rice at Re1 per kilogram for the poor, cash handouts for pregnant mothers and even financial assistance for cremation of the dead. The Odisha government also has schemes for giving out mosquito nets, bicycles, blankets and even umbrellas. “He has perfected the practice of sops into an art,” Das adds.

The slew of measures has helped Patnaik to stay on the right side of the popular mood and win successive assembly elections. For that matter, he even took care to win favour with Lord Jagannath, the presiding deity of the state, before this year’s car festival in the temple town of Puri. Ahead of the festival, he announced the setting up of a model school for providing free education to the children of the temple servitors, besides houses and insurance coverage of Rs 2 lakhs for them. Patnaik’s sops are meant to appease one and all, including the Gods.

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Nov 19, 2015