Not grooming successor: CM

Naveen rules out role in Delhi, says content in state

By Our Correspondent in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 7.11.16

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 6: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik today said he was not grooming anyone to be his successor.

"The people will in their own judgement choose the leader at the right time. The people will choose their own leader," he said. The chief minister was replying to questions at a literary festival organised by a media house here.

Naveen said he had no plans to move to Delhi, like his father the late Biju Patnaik.

"I have already worked in Delhi as a central minister. I am self-content. I have a great deal of unfinished work to do in Odisha," he said.

Naveen Patnaik

On the major achievements of his government, Naveen said the state had become a surplus rice producer and was exporting to other states. Besides, the state government has been able to empower women, he said. More than five million women self-help groups had been created, he added.

Though the chief minister admitted that Posco's withdrawal from the state had an impact, he asserted that Odisha had gone far in the field of industrialisation. He said steel production had gone up five times and required manpower had been created.

Naveen, however, made it clear that Posco withdrew because the Union government changed its mining policy, which led to mines not being allotted in favour of the steel major.

The chief minister said right now the state was focusing on skill development.

Asked about how far the state had moved ahead under him, Naveen made a frank assessment. He said that though the state had made progress, poverty was still an area of concern. He also highlighted how the Re 1 per kg rice scheme had been a huge success.

On the ongoing Mahanadi river dispute, Naveen said the party was not raising the issue keeping the panchayat elections in mind.

"They are planning to construct huge barrages on the Mahanadi. It will have its impact on Odisha. We will be moving court on this issue," said Naveen.

On the issue of forging an alliance with national parties such as the BJP and the Congress, Naveen said: "My party will continue to have equal distance from both the national parties."

Naveen also reminded the national parties of their positions and said the Congress had managed to get only 16 seats and the BJP only 10 seats in the 147-strong Assembly.

"We have got 20 Lok Sabha seats out of 21. There is no sign of the national parties growing in the state," he said.

Asked about his political adversaries also praising his simplicity, a reference to Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan's statement yesterday, and how a tall man like him was still using a Maruti car unlike other chief ministers, Naveen said: "I am using the car provided by the government. I am happy with it."

Yesterday, Pradhan had praised Naveen for his simplicity. "I learned from Naveen babu how to be content in life. He is an idol in the political sphere in India for his simple lifestyle," he said.

Pradhan went on to add that Naveen's simplicity could be gauged from the way he dresses and the vehicle he uses.

However, Pradhan's praise has not gone down well with BJP leaders. Senior BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra said: "The Union minister's abrupt praise will have an adverse impact on the morale of the party's grassroots workers."