By Sandeep Sahu
Everybody knows that Naveen Patnaik is the Chief Minister of Odisha and the ‘supremo’ of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD). But did you know that he is also ‘The Candidate’ in the election to all 21 Lok Sabha and 147 Vidhan Sabha seats in the state?
Far from being thankful to the BJD manifesto released on Saturday evening for making this stunning revelation, the naysayers are cribbing about the fact that it came rather late in the day – three days after The Candidate launched The Party’s election campaign at Seragada. After all, who cares for a manifesto? If the manifesto itself believes that people do not vote for the candidate – and instead vote for The Candidate – does anyone in his senses honestly believe that they would vote on the basis of what is promised in the manifesto?
But what if they did? And more pertinently, what if The Party, driven by a sudden bout of the ‘Sach Ka Saamna’ syndrome, decided to come out with an Honest Manifesto, one which promises what The Party and The Candidate would actually want to do given another chance.
Here is my take on what an honest, truthful BJD manifesto would read like.
If voted to power, The Party will:
· * Make sure that whatever little still remains of the once plentiful natural resources of the state will be handed over on a platter to the Good Samaritans of the private sector – both Indian and global – for ‘value addition’ (to their coffers and ours)
· * Make sure that agriculture is not given anything other than lip service and every acre of agricultural land is taken over for industrial purposes so that the people of the state stop deluding themselves that they can make a living out of farming
· * Prevent the ‘wasteful’ use of river water for the pointless pursuit called agriculture and its ‘gainful’ use to build more and more industries
· * Promote the ‘productive’ use of the land along the coast – for setting up universities or building Five Star tourist facilities
· * Finish the little that remains of the forests so that the ‘benefits of development’ reaches the people living in and around them
· * Hand over prime land in the Capital and other major cities to builders, hoteliers and mall owners for a pittance and – if some land is still left out – to god men and other sundry do-gooders, including commercially run educational institutions and professionally run spiritual organisations
· * Ensure that whatever remains of the crumbling edifice of primary education in government schools of the state is demolished and a spanking new building of privately managed schools takes its place without any further delay
· * Ensure that the last vestiges of the Odia language are removed from the government files and the education system since it is a ‘classical’ language and should remain just that – without ever aspiring to become the language of communication among educated Odias. [In any case, The Supreme Leader must be spared the great pains he takes to read out from the text in Odia, written in Roman.] English must become the lingua franca of the state that is the toast of the world now.
· * Ensure that there is nothing left of what is called the Opposition through a combination of blandishment, inducement and threat so that the government can focus on ‘governance’ and does not get distracted from the job at hand by its tantrums inside and outside the family.
· * Finish all dissent – in the media and in other public spaces – using the same instruments mentioned above and for the same purpose as above – ‘smooth’ functioning of the government
· * Promote in a big way the spread of liquor – particularly of the IMFL variety – to every nook and corner of the state. Ideally, every village should have a liquor shop so that the people don’t have to rush to the nearest town or buy the stuff at a premium from the local vendor. This onerous task would be taken up on a Mission Mode and any opposition to it – by jhadoo wielding, modern day Sulochanas – would be crushed ruthlessly to ensure that the tipplers are not inconvenienced.
· * Ensure that nobody can register an FIR just like that and everybody is made to go through a harrowing experience to lodge one because these godforsaken people just don’t realise that the policeman’s hands are already full with myriad responsibilities – protecting The Leader and his followers from unforeseen attacks by non-existent people, facilitating land acquisition from stubborn owners, protecting the henchmen of The Leader and his followers, launching and pursuing false cases against those who refuse to fall in line and so on
· * Hand over more territory to the Maoists than they have now in the interest of ‘peaceful coexistence’ where the government and Maoists would not encroach into each other’s territory. As part of the deal for peaceful coexistence, the government would allow the Maoists to kill for revenge and for fun, while the Maoists would allow the government to continue enjoying the fruits of power.
· * Last but not the least, our party would bury the remains of what Biju Patnaik stood for even while claiming to work towards fulfilling his dreams.
*(Sandeep Sahu is the Executive Editor of odishasuntimes.com.he may be contacted at [email protected])