Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Mar 13:
Garland in hand, he had been waiting in front of Naveen Niwas for at least three hours to have a glimpse of chief minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik and to wish him good luck for the ensuing elections.
Septuagenarian Raghu Murmu had brought the garland all the way from Atabira Assembly constituency in Bargarh district, but finally failed to offer it to the man it was intended for.
He had managed to do the hard part by getting inside Naveen Nivas, the fortress that even senior BJD leaders and media personnel find difficult to enter, but ultimately failed to make the proverbial ‘last mile’.
Seeing that many leaders and workers entering the security cordoned house to lobby for their aspirants to contest in the elections, Murmu entered the house impersonating as a BJD worker with the security personnel.
As the chief minister came out from his room to announce to the jostling media persons the party’s first list of candidates, the old man lunged forward hoping to catch the big man’s attention. But he had no luck as the security personnel shooed him away. He had to be content with seeing Naveen, supposedly the most popular chief minister the state has seen and yet the most inaccessible, from the corner of his eyes from a distance.
“I had come a long way to garland our chief minister and wish him good luck for the elections. But the security personnel did not allow me to go inside. Even though I managed to enter Naveen Niwas, I could not get anywhere close to Naveen Patnaikji. I appealed to some leaders and even the security personnel, but my requests fell on deaf ears,”lamented Murmu, who left the place dejectedly, garland packed in polythene.
“I was told that he cannot meet anyone. No one can touch him either. Had I known this, I would not have come so far at this age,” said the old man.
Raghu, however, was not the only person waiting in front of Naveen Niwas to have a glimpse of Naveen Patnaik and failing to do so. Hundreds of followers from across the state had descended on the capital city just to meet their leader and chief minister at his house after they found that it was open to party workers and leaders, who had come to lobby for their candidates.
However, barring a few followers in his coterie, not many could make it inside the house owing to the heavy security in place.
“I have been in front of Naveen Niwas for the last two hours. My leader has gone to meet the chief minister and discuss his candidature. I wanted to see Naveen Patnaik since I have not seen him from close. But all my efforts to meet went in vain,” said Samar Behera from Badachana, who had come with local MLA Amar Satpahty.