Odisha Sun Times Political Bureau
Bhubaneswar, July 29:
The ‘discretionary quota’ saga in Odisha is getting curiouser by the day. After the irrepressible Cooperation minister Damodar Rout and Puri strongman Maheswar Mohanty, it is now the turn of senior BJD leader Kalindi Behera to jump on to the bandwagon and aim pot shots at the under fire Kalpataru Das.
In the most scathing indictment of the supposedly powerful Rajya Sabha MP yet, the former minister described his party colleague’s explanation on availing three houses in Bhubaneswar for his family under the discretionary quota as ‘galuanka barabati chasa’ (which is simply untranslatable into any language, but would roughly mean the height of shamelessness).
“Didn’t he campaign for his son during the last election? Did not he spend money on his son’s election? If he did, how can he now claim that he and his son constitute two different families?” the former minister said today in an apparent reference to Das’ explanation that ‘technically and legally’ this indeed was the case.
The veteran BJD leader, who is still sulking at being denied a party ticket in the last election, asked why Das was trying to mislead the people.
Going a step further, Behera asked; ‘I want to know where did he amass all this property from?”
Earlier in the day, the BJD Rajya Sabha MP had reiterated his stand on the alleged misuse of the discretionary quota in allotment of houses to him and his family members.
“From the day one, I have been saying that, legally and technically, I and my wife are a family and my son is another family. In 2001, I got a BDA plot in Prachee Enclave in my wife’s name under discretionary quota. In 2011, we got one flat in Netaji Sunbash Bose Enclave in a lottery scheme of BDA, which didn’t ask us to submit any property details,” the BJD vice president had said.
However, another BJD vice president and Cooperation Minister Damodar Rout, who has locked horns with his colleague over the issue, has refused to buy the clarification.
“The General Administration (GA) department has issued a common guidelines and notification for allotment of plot or house under the discretionary quota. The rule says that an individual, who has been allotted a house or a plot by the BDA either in his name or in the name of his spouse, automatically becomes ineligible for allotment of a second house or another plot. I can’t say how he got the houses and plots. If there is violation of law, the law should take its own course,” said Rout.
With the noose tightening around Kalpataru’s neck, what with his own party colleagues training their guns at him, all eyes are now on party supremo Naveen Patnaik, who is known to drop the closest of associates like a hot potato when things get too hot for himself.