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Naveen-Modi meeting : Political deal packaged as fight for Odisha’s interest?


Odisha Sun Times Political Bureau
New Delhi, June 3 :

Has Odisha’s ‘clean and secular’ chief minister Naveen Patnaik struck a major political deal with the ‘undeserving’ and ‘communal’ prime minister Narendra Modi ? And, if so, why ? These questions are being discussed in the political circles in the national capital after Naveen and company trooped into the South Block to have a darshan of the newly annointed Prime Minister of India.

Naveen Patnaik meeting PM Modi ( PIB pic)
Naveen Patnaik meeting PM Modi ( PIB pic)

While the Odisha chief minister has tried his best to create an impression that he was there with all his MPs to present his state’s demands and problems, it is hard to digest it was really his state’s interests that motivated him to visit the Prime Minister along with the entire BJD parliamentary team.

Two other chief ministers, including his ‘political sister ‘and Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa, have called on Modi without any such fuss.

Two things are to be noted – Naveen Patnaik had a one-to-one chat for over 15 minutes with Modi before the latter held a 20-minute durbar for the 24 BJD MPs who were in tow, and two, a release from the PMO described this exercise as a ‘courtesy call’ by the Odisha chief minister and MPs belonging to his party.

First things first. What was the one-to-one all about ?

The release from the chief minister’s office says, during his meeting with the PM, Naveen raised a whole range of issues and demands of Odisha, including objections to the Polavaram project in the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and special category state status for the state. Although it sounds incredible that all that was crammed into a 15-minute chat, let us accept it at its face value.

But the question is, did the two find some time to discuss things other than the heat wave in Odisha or the thunderstorm in Delhi ? We all know what politicians discuss when they meet one to one – politics. It would, therefore, be ludicrous to believe the ‘equidistant’ leader from Odisha refrained from mixing politics with business.

But since walls in the South Block do not have ears, one can only presume what could have transpired between the two bachelors.

Did they explore possibilities of a formal or informal alliance in the Parliament ? Was the ‘old friend’ Naveen invited to return to the NDA fold ? Did Naveen express his anxiety and apprehensions over the ongoing and impending CBI probes into Odisha scams especially the coal and mining scams ? And finally, was a deal finally sealed ?

No politician, least of all Naveen Patnaik, is expected to go public about a political deal. However, developments in the next couple of months should reveal part of the deal, if not in full.

And finally, why did the PMO call PM’s interaction with the Odisha CM and BJD MPs only a courtesy call, when the chief minister and his party MPs would have us believe they were there to present Odisha’s demands before the new Prime Minister ?

No prizes for guessing.