Patnaik has not yet been able to prove the corruption charges against any of the dropped ministers.
Bhubaneswar: Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has dropped 44 ministers in his 17 years of rule in the state. While many of the ministers were dropped on “shadow of corruption” charges, the others faced the axe for their alleged “non-performance” and “anti-party” activities.
Surprisingly, Mr Patnaik has not yet been able to prove the corruption charges against any of the dropped ministers. Add to this, those who were shunted out of the council of ministers for anti-party activities have been readjusted in both the council of ministers and in the organisation, prompting the Opposition to allege that the CM’s action were just “political stunts” to maintain his own image as a non-corrupt and capable administrator.
In his first stint as CM from 2000 to 2004, Mr Patnaik had sacked six ministers. They include Kamala Das, Prashant Nanda, Nalinikant Mohanty, Amar Prasad Satpathy, Debi Prasad Mishra and Adwait Prasad Singh. They were dropped under “shadow of corruption” charges. Though it was expected that a probe would be ordered against them, no such actions followed. Two of the sacked ministers, Amar Prasad Satpathy and Prashant Nanda, are serving as the BJD’s key spokespersons. Debi Prasad Mishra, until he recently relinquished his ministerial position for organisational work, was again brought to the council of ministers and given the industry portfolio.
The then finance minister Ramakrishna Patnaik, another dropped minister, was brought back with a change in portfolio. Subsequently, he resigned from the ministry and was sacked from the party.
In his second tenure from 2004-09, Mr Patnaik took disciplinary action against 14 ministers fo their anti-party activities. Some of them again returned to the council of ministers and given plump portfolios. In his third stint from 2009-14, Mr Patnaik took major action following the alleged coup bid by late Rajya Sabha MP Pyarimohan Mohapatra in May 2012. Mohapatra had allegedly planned a coup, which was foiled by Mr Patnaik’s supporters.
Several MLAs and ministers, including Prafulla Ghadei, Prafulla Samal, Pratap Jena, Pushpendra Singhdeo and Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak were the victims of Mr Patnaik’s fury for their connection with Mohapatra.
The latest victim of the Odisha CM’s “in-an-out” policy is BJD vice-president Dr Damodar Rout who was sacked for his alleged “derogatory” remarks on the Brahmins.