Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jun 20:
Odisha Law minister Arun Sahu is the quintessential rent-a-quote politician, never shying away from a tete-a-tat with the media. But on Saturday, it was amusing to see him literally running away from the cameras when TV crews surrounded him for the customary byte on the mess that the servitors turned the holy ritual of Brahma Parivartan of the Lords into earlier this week.
Twice during the brief speechless (except a few inaudible murmurs) interface, the Law minister gave the impression that he was preparing to speak, once even asking a cameraperson to switch off the bright light falling into his eyes. But on both occasions, he stopped in his tracks and turned away – as if warned by someone.
Predictably, it was seen as a gag order from ‘above’ that barred him from opening his rather voluble mouth on the issue. Given the sensitivities involved, the ruling party has clearly decided that discretion is the demand of the hour.
As Law minister, he is expected to speak on behalf of the government on any issue concerning the Lord Jagannath temple (because expecting the Chief Minister to talk about it is like asking for the moon!). But instead, Sahu chose to field the hapless Suresh Mohapatra, already at the receiving end of much criticism for presiding over the royal mess, to answer questions from the media.
Nothing proved the discomfiture of the Naveen Patnaik government over the issue more conclusively than the gestures that the Law minister made and the facial expressions he sported. As a wag commented aptly; “He spoke more eloquently through his gestures than he could have done through words.”