Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, May 20:
With the CBI already breathing down the state government’s neck over the multi-crore Odisha chit fund scam, several senior ruling party leaders who are allegedly involved or are suspected to have had links with any of the companies under probe, may not find any space in the Naveen Patnaik’s council of ministers that takes oath on Wednesday, reliable sources said.
Naveen Patnaik, who will be taking oath of office as the Chief Minister for the fourth consecutive time, is relucatant to induct anyone who is ‘under a shadow’in the ponzi scam, because that would grievously affect his ‘clean image’, the sources informed.
The BJD boss is trying to a strike a balance while choosing his ministers and distributing portfolios, sources said, adding, while loyalty will be a factor, district-wise representation, past performance and clean image would be the major criteria of selection.
Patnaik has already received information about the involvement of some of the party leaders, including ‘giants’ and ‘giant killers’, in the chit fund scam as well as accumulation of wealth by them through clandestine deals with the chit fund tainted companies.
Even though some of these leaders are lobbying hard through various channels and putting pressure on the chief minister to induct them, they are not likely to succeed in their attempt, sources told OST.
Names of at least six prominent BJD MLAs, who were reportedly beneficiaries of the ponzi business- including two belonging to the undivided Cuttack district, one each from Puri and Ganjam districts have been doing the rounds.
Reliable sources said Patnaik is aware of the danger involved in nominating any leader, who is a suspect in the eyes of the public, for it could lead to huge embarrassment at a later stage when the CBI and ED finally chase the money trail.
It is expected that Patnaik will pick and choose both experienced as well as youth leaders for an image makeover. He is also likely to give a fair representation to women in his ministry considering the fact that women had voted for the BJD in very large numbers across the state. Besides, he would also include a number of MLAs from the ST, SC and OBC communities.