Chief minister Naveen Patnaik was in an expansive mood when World Bank president Robert Zoellick called on him at the state secretariat recently. The two exchanged pleasantries in the chief minister’s office on the third floor of Sachivalaya and then walked out together for the official meeting in the conference hall on the same floor.
Before stepping into the hall where the rest of the World Bank team and government officials were waiting for them.
Naveen turned towards Zoellick and pointed towards the large oil painting depicting a scene from Lord Jagannath’s fable hanging on the wall near the staircase landing. He took time to explain the scene to the world’s most powerful banker, who was duly impressed.
Sura bhai on top
Former minister Suresh Kumar Routray aka Sura bhai can be trusted to succeed when others fail. He proved this once more on Utkal Divas, the state’s foundation day, when a corporate house had organised a rally with chief minister
Naveen Patnaik doing the honours. The organisers, however, got a scare when the tricolour the chief minister was supposed to unfurl on the occasion got stuck. However hard he tried, the flag refused to open. Watching Naveen’s predicament several leaders and dignitaries present tried to come to his rescue. Among others Bhubaneswar MP Prasanna Kumar Patsani, BJD MLA Khageswar Behera and newly elected Rajya Sabha member and former India hockey captain, Dilip Trikey tried in vain to unfurl the flag.
Finally, Sura bhai, who is among the senior-most Congress leaders of the state today, came up and tugged at the rope holding the flag in his now familiar style. Lo and behold, the tricolour opened and began fluttering in the breeze in full glory.
The intriguing silence of Rajya Sabha member Pyari Mohan Mohapatra on the hostage crisis plaguing Odisha government appears to confirm reports about the growing differences between him and chief minister Naveen Patnaik.
Once described as Naveen’s Chanakaya, the bureaucrat-turned-politician has not only refrained from commenting on the crisis, he has been spending most of his time in Delhi, the ongoing session of parliament becoming a handy excuse for him.
In sharp contrast, his political adversaries including former agriculture minister Damodar Rout, have been quite vocal on the issue. Clearly power equations within the ruling party are changing with chief minister finding new favourites.
The common perception is that ministers are so busy with the affairs of the state that they tend to ignore their families. Many don't even know how their homes are being run as the daily shopping, more often than not, is done either by servants or by their spouses. Revenue and disaster management minister, Surya Narayan Patro, however, seems to be an exception. Despite his busy schedule he manages to find time to shop for family needs. The other day one found him buying fruits for vthe family at the Priyadarshini Market near CRP Square and he appeared to be thoroughly enjoying himself.
“I like shopping for the family. I have been doing this for a long time time,” Patro said.
Senior BJD leader Pyari Mohan Mohapatra made his affection for Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) president Ranjib Biswal public while inaugurating the Sachin Tendulkar indoor hall at Barabati stadium on Utkal Divas.
“I treat him as my son-in-law as his father-in-law happens to be a friend,” said Mohapatra, who had once toyed with the idea of contesting for the top OCA post, but ultimately decided against it.
Doing the honours on the occasion, Mohapatra, a Rajya Sabha member, also sought to make it clear that he had no intentions of entering the OCA fray in future.
His statement must have been reassuring for Biswal, a Congress leader and former Lok Sabha member, who has been calling the shots in OCA.