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Ghadai drops a bombshell; rips Odisha CM apart

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sept 20:

Ending his long silence after he was denied a party ticket in the last Assembly and Rajya Sabha elections, senior BJD leader and former Odisha Finance minister Prafulla Chandra Ghadai has finally unmasked the party supremo and chief minister Naveen Patnaik and exposed the nasty politics within the ruling party.

Prafulla Ghadai
Prafulla Ghadai

In an explosive, no-holds-barred interview with the leading Odia daily ‘Sambad’, Ghadai has punctured Naveen Patnaik’s image as a successful chief minister and astute politician.

“He never does anything on his own and usually depends on someone or other. Though he had earlier depended on Pyari Babu, he was a bit active and communicative. Of late, he has been lying low and appears to be physically and mentally dull and finds himself in the grip of some influential brokers,” said the former Sukinda MLA in an exclusive interview to ‘Sambad’ on Friday.

Referring to the coterie that has made the chief minister dance to its tune, Ghadai said Naveen Patnaik is now in the firm grip of KPPP (Kalpataru-Pandian-Pinaki-Prabhakaran). He also said two others—former chief secretary Bijay Patnaik and senior IPS officer Arun Sarangi—also belong to the coterie.

Describing the chief minister as a ‘wonder’ in India, he said a person, who does not understand anything and remains non-communicative, continues to be the chief minister.

“The people of Odisha have tolerated him due to the absence of a strong opposition and massive people’s mandate in his favour,” he pointed out.

Taking about Naveen’s political acumen, the BJD leader said the chief minister is well-versed in the art of taking revenge, keeping party colleagues in a tight leash and clipping the wings of the senior party leaders to keep his chair intact.

Hinting at the weaknesses of the Opposition, he said all opposition leaders are scared of the chief minister.

“While the BJP state president KV Singhdeo has no guts to demand the resignation of the chief minister, another BJP leader and Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan has not uttered a single word against the state government. Besides, the chief minister has become a deciding factor in the fate of the state Congress. He has been able to change the Congress leadership in the state owing to his close links with the party’s Central leader and AICC member Ahmed Patel,” Ghadai remarked.

Blaming the Congress for the landslide victory of BJD in Jajpur, Dharmasala and Korei constituencies in the Assembly elections this year, he said the Congress had deliberately fielded the weakest possible candidates in these constituencies as the party leadership had received huge money from the ruling party.

“The Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president had fielded the weakest candidates in most of the constituencies and sold out 12 party tickets after a good bargain,” Ghadai added.

Commenting on his arch rival and Rajya Sabha member Kalpataru Das, the former Finance minister said Das always believes in “money politics”.

“Due to his buy-all-with-money policy, he became a minister within no time, became the vice president of the party, was later elected as Rajya Sabha member, made his son an MLA and the daughter of his attendant an MP,” he noted.

Ghadai also revealed that Kalpataru had earlier tried his best to become a minister but Naveen’s erstwhile political advisor Pyari Babu did not allow it since he knew Kalpataru was a “wheeler-dealer”.

“Like Kalpataru, those who were vying for a ministerial berth hatched a plot to keep Pyari Babu out of the party in which they finally succeeded,” he said.

“There is no democracy in the BJD. It has become a one-man party. There is no meeting and discussion between the party supremo and the party leaders and workers,” Ghadai observed.

Stating that he had played a long innings in his political career, the veteran leader, however, said that his party has been able to provide strong and stable government in the state for which several developmental works have been made possible.

To a question on his continuation in the BJD, he said he is in the party and would continue to remain in the party.

(The full text of this explosive interview will appear in the Sunday edition of Sambad)