Much has been written about the newfound bonhomie between chief minister Naveen Patnaik and his Tamil Nadu counterpart Jayalalithaa. But, not many seem to be aware that the man working hard to strengthen the bond between the two regional satraps with national ambitions is an Odia with a strong Tamil connection.
Those in the know of things say that Tamil Nadu chief secretary Debendra Nath Sarangi has played a crucial role in bringing the two leaders closer.
Both the sides trust Sarangi, because, apart from being a top bureaucrat, he has a personal connection with both the states.
While Odisha happens to be his land of birth, Tamil Nadu is where his wife comes from. One wonders if he has a vested interest in building political bridges between Tamil Nadu and Odisha.
Lulu hits back
After lying low for sometime, former Congress MLA from Brahmagiri Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra alias Lulu is beginning to assert himself again.
Ready to take on the state Congress leadership, he met Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad during the latter’s recent Odisha visit with a litany of grievances. Sources said Lulu had told Azad that the party did not have a future in the state under the leadership of present Pradesh Congress Committee president Niranjan Patnaik, who lacked both charisma and the determination to fight the BJD.The former state Youth Congress president also lashed out at Patnaik and his associates for trying to sideline leaders such as him, as they believed in speaking their mind. While Lulu’s followers believe Azad would convey his grievances to AICC president Sonia Gandhi faithfully, his adversaries call it wishful thinking.
“If central leaders had so much time for Odisha, things would have been different in the state,” was the caustic remark of a seasoned Congress leader.
Director-general of police (fire services) Binoy Kumar Behera is remarkably grounded for the high office that he holds. He believes in taking life as it comes.
The amiable man, who has seen many ups and downs in his long and illustrious career, is a great admirer of melody and often hums these immortal lines from Sahir Ludhianvi to sum up of his philosophy of life: Jo mil gaya usi ko muqaddar samajh liya, jo kho gaya main usko bhulata chala gaya (Whatever I got, I took it as my fate and kept forgetting what I lost).
Picturised on the evergreen Dev Anand in Hum Dono, the song begins with the evocative line Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya (I just kept going with life), but Behera seems to have culled the most meaningful part of it and made it his motto.
Cricket crazy Jajpur superintendent of police Deepak Kumar has turned the game to his advantage. He has succeeded in using it to instil team spirit among his men while keeping them physically fit.
Bringing together sports loving policemen, he has formed a team of his own and travels across the district, playing matches.
Recently, the policemen led by him played a friendly with a team captained by local MLA Pranab Prakash Das. Played on the sidelines of the just-concluded Jajpur Premier League, the match drew a sizeable crowd, which thoroughly enjoyed the clash.
Sources said the SP was also keen on his team taking part in the premier league, the district’s showcased cricket tournament, but somehow it did not materialise.
Time to unwind
Top-notch bureaucrats with pressure cooker jobs hardly get time to unwind. So, one was pleasantly surprised to see health secretary Anu Garg cheering for the Deccan Chargers when the Hyderabad-based team clashed with the Sourav Ganguly-led Pune Warriors at Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on May 1. Sporting a printed blue and white salwar-kurta, the petite bureaucrat was spotted enthusiastically waving a puffed-up plastic stump that read “Go Chargers Go”.
Keen on making the most of her holiday, Garg reached Cuttack from Bhubaneswar in time to ensure that she did not miss any of the action at Barabati, the Mecca of Odisha cricket. Her day was made as Chargers romped home rather easily.
Bhubaneswar MP, the saffron-clad Prasanna Kumar Patasani, recently waxed eloquently about the causes of diabetes at a public function, where he had been invited as one of the honoured guests. What set him going was the fact that he was the only one among the invited guests to test negative for the disease when the organisers insisted on a test. The “Baba”, as the BJD leader is known to his supporters, pompously announced that he had kept clear of such ailments despite being close to 70 as he avoided pressure and anxiety at all costs. He even sought to put a part of the blame for increasing cases of diabetes by attacking people using mobile phones and made a strong plea against the use of such modern gadgets. Baba’s exhortation has many still reeling from its impact!