Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 1:
All roads in the state capital appeared to lead to Naveen Nivas, the residence of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, on the first morning of the New Year today as ministers, party MLAs and MPs and workers, bureaucrats and even laymen braving the inclement weather made a beeline to wish the Chief Minister on the New Year bouquets in hand.\
Scores of cars and SUVs lined both sides of the road in front of Naveen Nivas since early in the morning. Security personnel posted at the Chief Minister’s residence had a tough time controlling the flow of visitors.
Accepting bouquets from visitors, Naveen gleefully posed for the cameras and said in English; “I wish a very happy and prosperous new year to everyone”- perhaps heeding Sambad Editor Soumya Ranjan Patnaik’s advice to him not to speak in distorted Odia in public in the New Year.
Ruling party politicians used the opportunity to sing paeans to their supreme leader. Law Minister Arun Sahu was at his sychophantic best comparing himself with the squirrel of the Ramayana, who had helped Lord Rama build the setubandha over the sea to reach Lanka.
“We are like squirrels in our leader Naveen Patnaik’s grand plans for the development and progress of Odisha. We are committed to put in all our efforts for accelerating development and growth in the state and take Odisha to new heights on the ladder of progress,” said Sahu.
On being asked what he wished for the people of the state, Sahu said; “I wish prosperity for the people of the state and hope that their development scales new heights this year. I wish Odisha finds a unique place in the world map.”
Health and Family Welfare Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak, currently in a tight spot over jaundice asssuming epidemic proportions in the state was emong the earliest to reach Naveen Nivas to convey his New Year wish to the Chief Minister.
“Today, we have all taken a pledge to follow our leader Naveen Patnaik’s directions and reaffirm the party’s commitment to the development of the people of the state. “We will do everything we can to see to it that the benefits of the welfare programmes taken up by our government reaches to the lowest levels of the society who are at times deprived of its despite all our efforts and desires.”
On his wishes for the people of the state Nayak said; “I wish citizens of my state be blessed with prosperity and peace by the grace of Lord Jagannath.”
Minister Food Supply and Consumer Welfare Sanjay Dasburma who was also at Naveen Niwas and yielded to requests of reporters said; “I am praying before Lord Jagannath that the new year be a year of possibilities and prosperity for all”.