Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jun 22:
With the extended month-long appraisal of Odisha ministers’ about to conclude in a week’s time, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has kept his cabinet minister on tenterhooks as rumour mills are working overtime speculating on possible reshuffle post Nabakalebara festival.
The first phase assessment exercise, which began on May 23 started with Sports and Youth Affairs department where Minister Sudam Marandi presented his performance report before the Chief Minister through a PowerPoint presentation in the conference hall of the state secretariat.
“I was the first player and have scored well,” a seemingly elated Marandi had told reporters after the review meeting.
Ever since, the performance of as many as 18 of the 30 departments have been reviewed and all the concerned ministers have sung the same tune hummed by Marandi on the first day.
“The review meeting was good. Chief Minister was happy with the performance. He offered congratulations and also gave us good advice” was the common refrain of all the ministers after their respective review meetings.
Interestingly, no minister could read the mind of Naveen Patnaik as he spoke precious little impromptu except ‘good’, ‘congratulations’ which was followed by a prepared text of advisory.
With the performance review meetings coming to its fag-end, the ministers’ are a bewildered lot after they learnt that all of them have been handed out similar reports.
Days ahead of completion of the first year of his fourth term as chief minister, Naveen Patnaik had sought to know from different departments the status of the fulfilment of promises made to the people at the time of the last elections and the road map for the future.
On completion of the first year of his governance, the Chief Minister had convened a meeting of his council of ministers. The ministers had submitted their report card prepared by the department secretaries and officials. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had, however, other things in mind. Patnaik had told his ministers for a department-wise review.
Now, the ministers are confused whether the chief minister’s review process was a publicity stunt or for real.
Speculation is rife that there would be cabinet reshuffle post Nabakalebara festival of Lord Jagannath where the non-performers are likely to be shown the door.
For this, hectic lobbying for the possible reshuffle has already begun, sources said.