The Telegraph
Saturday , December 29 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pyari unveils ‘chief’ wish

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 28: Odisha Jan Morcha (OJM) leader Pyari Mohan Mohapatra today declared that he was ready to accept the chief minister’s job if people wanted him to take up that responsibility, baring his ambitions ahead of the elections.

Delivering a perfect election speech at Baripada, where the OJM held a gung-ho rally, the bureaucrat-turned-politician also promised medical colleges, electricity and special funds for backward areas in the event of coming power. He threw a challenge at his former master, chief minister Naveen Patnaik, saying that half of the BJD would switch over to his morcha in the next three months.

“If the people wish, I am ready to be the chief minister,” said Mohapatra, addressing a 30,000-strong gathering at Chhow Padia grounds leaving no one in doubt about his ambitions. Predicting that 2014, the year next Assembly elections are due, would spell doom for the chief minister, Mohapatra promised three separate medical colleges for Balasore, Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar. He also assured the people of creation of fresh infrastructure to set up new industries.

The man, whom the chief minister now loves to hate, also assured the people of either free or low-cost electricity and hand pumps, apart from medical facilities for the poor. Moreover, the leader promised special funds for development of the backward KBK region.

Engaged in a legacy war with the chief minister, Mohapatra lashed out at Naveen, describing him as inefficient and dictatorial with no time or inclination to listen to the grievances of ordinary people. Alleging that the government schemes were not reaching the targeted beneficiaries because of administrative indifference, the Rajya Sabha member, who was thrown out of the BJD on charges of anti-party activity, said promises even on the industrial front had not been kept.

“In 2004, I had suggested setting up of 200 micro industries to provide jobs to 27 lakh people. This was ignored and an employment mission was created which could provide jobs to merely 30,000,” he said.

However, BJD leaders not only pooh-poohed Mohapatra’s claims, but also mocked his attempt to usurp the legacy of greats from the state such as Gopabandhu Dash, Madhusudan Das and Biju Patnaik whose faces are imprinted on the OJM posters and banners.

“Mohapatra is a pretender, who is crying foul after being thrown out of the BJD. People are not going to be misled by what he says. In any case we don’t attach any importance to what he says these days,” said government chief whip Pravat Tripathy.